Boulder County reintegrating administration of CCAP
Co-locating Child Care Assistance Program with county’s other human services will boost efficiency, access
Boulder County, Colo. - As need continues to increase in the community for help with child care costs, Boulder County is moving to reintegrate administration of a key program that provides that assistance.
The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) is a statewide resource for families who need help covering the costs of child care as they’re working, seeking a job, or pursuing an education.
In Boulder County, CCAP has been administered by a third-party private vendor, Aspen Family Services. County leaders recognized an opportunity for streamlining the CCAP enrollment process by integrating it with other self-sufficiency-supporting services that the county oversees.
“Child care assistance is an extremely important support for parents who are struggling to find and keep jobs,” said Christina Ostrom, Family and Resident Support Services Division Manager for the Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services (BCDHHS). “We know that quality child care along with strong work supports, access to healthcare and food assistance, and stabilizing financial benefits is a combination that leads to self-sufficiency.”
Since 2008, BCDHHS has seen a 150 percent increase in need for Food Assistance (formerly known as “food stamps”), and a 63 percent increase in need for Medicaid services. During this time, the county has continued to work to more efficiently meet this increase in need and to ensure clients understand the full range of services available to them.
BCDHHS staff have access to state and county eligibility systems and databases, which means the transition of CCAP into the department will reduce wait times for clients after they submit applications for the program. County staff will also be able to quickly connect clients with other services they may need in addition to child care assistance.
“This is an exciting time for the county,” said Boulder County Commissioner Cindy Domenico. “We have an opportunity to bring vital services together to strengthen and widen our safety net, and this will help countless families get the comprehensive help they need now.”
CCAP covers much of the cost of child care for qualifying families through a network of providers across the county. In order to reach more families with this assistance, Boulder County recently returned eligibility guidelines for the program to 2009 levels to include families with incomes up to 225 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (for example, $3,474 gross monthly income for a family of three). A portion of the CCAP program in Boulder County, including this expansion, is funded by Ballot Initiative 1A, a temporary property tax increase passed by voters in 2010 to backfill human services budget cuts. In addition to expanding eligibility, this funding has allowed the county to further support quality child care options in the community.
Ongoing operating expenses for in-house CCAP administration will be cost neutral for the county. BCDHHS will reintegrate administration of CCAP in Boulder County during the first quarter of 2013. A series of meetings will be held in August to share information with county partners on the transition.