The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program as a Practical Model

lbjCritics have been attacking the War on Poverty since President Johnson first addressed it in 1964, and understandably so, to a degree. After all, the issue is far from being adequately resolved because a number of government-funded welfare programs do not give individuals incentives to work. Nevertheless, many states provide child care programs to families living below the national poverty line.

What makes a government program successful? Simply put, there needs to be a balanced give and take between the government and the program recipients. The state of Colorado provides subsidies to low income families for early childhood care and education through the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP). This program recognizes the significance of child assistance for families and defines specific requirements for applying. In observing this essential balance between the state and recipients, the plan significantly benefits many living in poverty who need this vital attention.

One of the most important reasons the CCCAP has proven effective is because adults with children can continue working. Most of the children who fall below the poverty line in America live in a house headed by one parent. These single parents need to work so that they can provide basic needs for their children and for themselves. But, when they do not have the luxury of a significant other to split child supervision with, they need help.

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“Trends in Single-Parent Families 1960-2004,” Heritage Foundation

The chart above clarifies the almost 20% increase of single parent households since 1960. According to United States national statistics, 30% of children under the age of eighteen live with a single parent in Colorado, and of that population, 23% of those parents live in poverty. Child care in America ranges anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands, and these already struggling families must dole out money they do not have. When parents barely make enough money to feed themselves, the CCCAP becomes a necessity. Depending on the financial situation of the family, the government pays anywhere from some to all of the family’s child supervision needs. Applying for subsidies requires a simple application and immensely helps those who need a little extra push to ensure the safekeeping of their children.

Moreover, the CCCAP is also practical for the state because the program requires certain responsibilities from applicants. Families who receive these subsidies for child care must prove that they hold a job or attend school to qualify. Like other government assistance plans, the cases depend on the financial stability of each individual family. If recipients have jobs, they must provide a formal pay stub to their care provider every pay period. Yearly, Colorado mandates that beneficiaries reapply for subsidies. These requirements hold parents to a high standard and ultimately make guardians work harder.

Along with helping pay for basic child supervision, the CCCAP also assists in covering early childhood education costs. Over the past decade, debate has surfaced over the importance of early childhood education. In a recently published article examining the importance of preschool, the authors stated that “Early childhood education has a myriad of benefits, including better, more equitable long-term outcomes for children of diverse economic backgrounds.” Research has shown that preschool gives children the building blocks to grow and expand their knowledge later in their educational career. With the help of the CCCAP, families from a low income background can finally provide their young children academic enrichment that they would have missed without the state’s help.

Due to these factors, the state of Colorado has developed a government subsidized arrangement that actually benefits both the citizens and the state. This plan helps families who need the tools to keep working, while holding them accountable to stay motivated. By providing this service, the Colorado Government is performing an admirable community service to low income families. This type of program needs to expand everywhere in the United States. Going back to the central issue of the War on Poverty, child care assistance programs prove that the battle has never ended. The only way to win the war has to come from willingness to finally end the cycle of poverty.