Community Organizing- Childcare Information Services
Child Care Information Services, (CCIS), is a, “subsidized childcare program that helps low-income families pay their child care fees” (YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh, 2014). The program is state and government funded, which the offices are managed throughout Pennsylvania according to your county.
In the late 1990’s CCIS’s origin began with assisting the working families only. If a person or persons were receiving TANF benefits their childcare subsidy would come from the Department of Public Welfare. Once those persons would obtain employment their childcare subsidy funding source would automatically transfer to CCIS.
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A small percentage of clients have been fortunate and employers have been gracious to hold their position open until they have resolved their childcare issues, however most times this does not occur.
A temporary solution for this problem could be neighbors coming together in the community and forming a babysitting club until the subsidy assistance has been approved. Those in the community can determine what their childcare needs are and what specific neighbors can assist in meeting those needs. Again, this would not be a long term solution however it may decrease the amount of people who are deciding to resign from their current positions.
Another option could be a program my current employer offers, Flexible Spending Account, (FSA). FSA, “is a reimbursement account offered by your employer as part of your benefits package. Enrolling in a dependent care plan saves you money. It allows you to use pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible dependent care, such as day care, preschool, before or after-school care for qualified individuals” (Conexis, 2015).
The ultimate goal of both solutions is to reduce the amount of people who are resigning from their employment or those who are being terminated from their current employer due to childcare issues, in turn reducing poverty levels as well as decreasing the number of people applying for cash assistance.
I would recruit differently for each solution. For the first solution, the babysitting club, I would go into the neighborhood and do an assessment by going door to door completing surveys to identify what the childcare needs are, who would be interested in the babysitting club, and the benefits of working together as a community to ensure stable childcare and retaining employment. Based on the data I would gather and collect, I would identify individuals who could be key committee members and facilitate and organize meetings and discussions. If neighbors facilitate the meetings they can empower one another because it’s a relatable, as well as a personal issue. These meetings can also provide an opportunity for other ideas to be presented. When the issue effect you directly you have a better sense of how the issue can be resolved. This option will also allow the neighbors to network amongst themselves with viable solutions to resolve childcare issues.
The long-term goal would be keeping childcare intact until subsidy assistance would be available as well as, retaining and maintaining employment.
There are a couple of issues that may present itself such as, neighbors are not as close-knit as they have been in the past and different members of the community may not feel comfortable with leaving their children with people they do not have a consistent rapport with. There may not be enough members in the community that can rotate the childcare services or accommodate specific individual needs.
For the second solution promoting FSA, I would begin with assessing childcare providers and daycare...