STATE OF TENNESSEE

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

CITIZENS PLAZA BUILDING

400 DEADERICK STREET

NASHVILLE, TN 37248

Telephone 615-313-4700 Fax 615-741-4165

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 12, 2001

CONTACT: Paul Ladd, (615) 313-4707

 

SOUTHERN TASK FORCE CALLS FOR IMPROVED ACCESS TO CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE

 

NASHVILLE – Low-income families in the South are in need of improved access to financial aid for child care, according to a report issued by a commission representing 16 states, including Tennessee, and the District of Columbia. The Southern Regional Task Force on Child Care presented its findings today in Nashville.

The Task Force identified four issues that it calls barriers to child care financial assistance:

  1. Significant underfunding of the federal/state child care subsidy system
  2. Eligibility policies and systems that hinder access to public child care subsidies
  3. Inadequate attention to developing employer child care assistance partnerships
  4. Lack of federal and state tax strategies, such as refundable child care and dependent tax credits

"The report offers some valuable suggestions on what government, business and community leaders can do to address these issues. We are taking a look at how we can implement these suggestions in Tennessee," said Department of Human Services (DHS) Commissioner Natasha K. Metcalf, the state’s representative on the Task Force.

In addition, the report states that making financial assistance for child care a priority will benefit families now and in the future. Doing nothing will end up costing states more in terms of building a capable workforce, helping families avoid welfare, and providing more support for early learning programs that can boost school readiness across the South.

"The inability of many families to pay for child care is a public policy issue with far-reaching consequences for southern states," said Sarah Shuptrine, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Southern Institute on Children and Families, and chair of the Task Force. "To develop and maintain the workforce required to fuel economic progress throughout the South, greater investments in strategies that make child care more accessible and affordable are essential."

More information on the Task Force’s report is available at the website of the Southern Institute on Children and Families, at http://www.kidsouth.org.

 

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