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Happy First Day of Summer! As thoughts turn to warmer weather and time spent outside, many families continue to struggle to ensure their children are cared for in nurturing, safe, affordable child care programs. No matter whether a camp, home-based, or center-based option, they all require a cost that must be borne by families when parents and caregivers must work.

In looking at some statistical information for our end-of-year reports, I am again reminded that child care programs in Rockland can cost upwards of $300 per week per child and that 54% of Rockland families with children, according to the United Way, are asset-limited, income-constrained, and employed (known as ALICE families). That means they struggle to make ends meet, even with a decent income. That same United Way report tells us a family of four with two children need over $98,000 in annual income to meet basic needs.

That is why the child care tuition scholarship funds administered by CCRR are so very important. Via both the United Way Tuition Scholarship Program and the Jane Brown Tuition Scholarship Fund, we are able to offer families up to $300 per month to offset the cost of child care - $3600 per year per child. That’s only about 25% of the true cost of care. Based on the dollar amounts from each of these tuition scholarship funds, CCRR currently helps 12 families.

While we are deliriously happy to help these 12 families, the need is far greater. At any one time we have at least another 12 families on a scholarship waiting list – but that doesn’t tell the whole story. We know that families who reach out to us looking for help, once they realize there is already a waiting list, will not ask to be considered.  Consider the income information above. Making $98,000 per year – about $8100 per month - and paying $2400 per month for child care – doesn’t leave much for food, housing, health care, transportation, school supplies, clothing, or other needs.

You can help. Donate to CCRR – for the scholarship programs so more families can enjoy some relief from the cost of child care; for the professional development we provide to child care providers to ensure children are receiving the best care and education; for the advocacy we do to ensure the voices of struggling families are heard. Your donation – no matter the amount – has a direct impact on the children of Rockland County, on the economy of Rockland County, and on the future of Rockland County.