We've Moved- Please Come See Us

Check out the new home for New Hampshire Watchdog:


Monday, September 28, 2009

Child-care subsidies on hold

One of the many ways in which budget writers can ignore reality is by ignoring predicted caseloads. Just as overestimating revenues can lead to a rosier budget picture, so too can underestimating the number of people who will sign up for state services. Karen Langley reports in the Concord Monitor that increased demand for a state child-care program has forced the Child Development Bureau to start a waitlist for those seeking state money.
The Child Development Bureau will start the waiting list - a first for the department - as a way to stay on budget in a year when unprecedented numbers of families have sought aid.

The state has seen a 15 percent increase in the number of children receiving scholarships between February 2008 and August 2009, when the rolls increased from 7,294 children to 8,411 children, according to the bureau's figures.

While total enrollment has risen, the most expensive categories of child care - care for infants and full-time care - have seen disproportionate increases. Children up to 18 months accounted for nearly 25 percent of those receiving scholarship in August, up from 10 percent of those enrolled a year and a half earlier.

For programs such as this, the state can simply stop signing up new beneficiaries when the money runs out. If it underestimates caseloads for mandatory welfare programs, anyone qualifying for state money still gets it, and the deficit is added to the state's growing budget hole.

No comments:

Post a Comment