Time is running out to get child care costs covered for a year

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- There's a way to get child care covered for a year, but parents don't have much more time to apply.

HELPING PARENTS GET BACK TO WORK

During the pandemic, Texas has allocated millions to help parents with day care. Jennifer Lopez is one of those impacted, facing eviction just weeks ago.

Her life changed when she received a child care scholarship.

"Where there's a will, there's a way," Lopez said. "I am very happy I was able to make this move and I was able to step forward and put my foot down and this is what I'm going to do for my family."

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"I'm that person that loves to work, and I enjoyed it," said a mother who quit after giving birth. She said it was a tough decision, but the price of child care gave her no other choice.


Lopez landed a job at a dental business. While she's working, her son is at day care, which was made possible through the child care scholarship.

"It does make feel that he is safe there," Lopez explained. "I'm able to go to work, and I'm able to provide for my family the best that I can."

The video featured above is from a previous report.

DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR THE CHILD CARE SCHOLARSHIP IS MARCH 15TH
Right now, the state offers a hospitality child care scholarship. If approved, parents get assistance for a year.

"This is very rare that we get to pay 100 percent of your child care costs," Workforce Solutions spokesperson Michelle Castrow explained.

In order to qualify, parents must work in the hospitality industry. Children must be 12 and younger. There's also an income requirement, which for a family of four is about $64,000.

MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IS STILL AVAILABLE

Parents have had months to apply. That ends Tuesday. More than $500 million was allocated for the program. It was aimed at helping 55,000 kids. So far, only 14,000 are enrolled, or 25 percent of those anticipated.

State leaders said if the money isn't used, it'll be placed in other child care programs.

Hospitality workers were targeted because they were impacted greatly during the pandemic. Recent studies show Texas loses $1.8 billion in tax revenue by parents not working because of child care.

"We all depend on each other," Castrow said. "Our buying power supports all of our neighbors, and all of the amenities all across the city." A program that can help get people back to work, and give parents peace of mind of where their kids are. "He comes home and it's like, wait, stay awake! He gets tired, but you know they have him very active and he's growing," Lopez said. "He does very well in day care."

In addition to applying online, you can also call the ABC 13 hotline at 713-243-6663 and ask about the scholarship.

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