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Gov. Carney, Department of Health and Social Services move to make childcare more affordable

Milton Pratt
Delaware Public Media

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services and Gov. John Carney announce changes to the state's Purchase of Care program

The moves will cap family co-payments at 7% of family income and remove all co-pays for families below 150% of the federal poverty level, which will eliminate copays for over 1,000 kids.

The state will also increase compensated absence days for providers from five to 10, which Division of Social Services Director Tom Hall says is a support for childcare providers.

“So this is an absolute necessity for families to be successful and to be able to work and focus the time they need while they are at work, know that their kids are in a safe, quality place that they are taken care of," Hall says.

These moves build on Carney’s recommended FY25 budget which proposes expanding eligibility for Purchase of Care to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and creating over 200 additional seats in the Early Childhood Assistance Program.

The budget also seeks $83 million in Purchase of Care, compared to $32 million in 2017, and $15.7 million in ECAP, compared to $6.1 million in 2017.

Hall says the goal is to make childcare. more affordable

“The Purchase of Care program makes available to those families quality childcare services through a large network of providers in the state," Hall says. "We have currently close to 14,000 kids that are registered in that program.”

Hall notes this program is meant for families working their way up the ladder – so parents can focus on work or education while knowing their kids are taken care of.

Hall says they anticipate implementing these policies before the next fiscal year.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.