EITC Pre-K Scholarship

Creating employment opportunities for low-income families in partnership with child care providers across the County.

2017 Application Deadline: June 16, 2017
2017 Application

History
In 2006, United Way of Butler County conducted a Community Needs and Solutions Assessment in partnership with the Butler Collaborative for Families and Butler Health System.  The results of that assessment established the United Way’s Impact Plan for Change.  Based on the community’s feedback specific community level goals were established in three key areas:  Education, Financial Stability and Connecting People.  United Way of Butler County raises over $1.3 million annually to support programs that meet defined outcomes established around the three focus areas of Education, Financial Stability and Connecting People; programs that must demonstrate successful outcomes during a rigorous evaluation by community volunteer panels.

Local Impact Councils were formed around the three focus areas to monitor progress toward community goals and identify any gaps in service or programming.  One of the main goals for Financial Stability is that citizens have access to and are able to maintain sustainable employment.  The two key barriers to employment have been identified as transportation and affordable child care.

Establishing the Need
Currently in Butler County, the Child Care Information Service (CCIS), operated by the Butler County Children’s Center, administers federal and state aid for low-income families.  Currently, eligibility is for those whose income is 225% of the federal poverty level or less.  At any given time, there are 75 families on the waiting list for child care assistance in Butler County.  Our goal is to eliminate the waiting list as well as help bridge families who may be just over the eligibility guidelines for assistance.  Recent cuts to both service and administration dollars as well as to services for child care providers offering care during non-traditional hours (often needed by employees in lower income retail and service fields) have further challenged our efforts to eliminate the waiting list and get people back to work.

A Better Answer for a Better Return
In the past, United Way of Butler County provided a direct grant from its Impact Fund to the Butler County Children’s Center to administer scholarship assistance.  In 2010, United Way provided scholarships through a direct grant to the Butler County Children’s Center and CCIS totaling more than $34,000, which served 25 families.  This averaged 57 days of care per family at approximately $20 per day.

United Way of Butler County has now established an independent Child Care Scholarship Fund that will be managed by an oversight committee, with 90% of the funds going toward child care assistance and 10% to support the family service counselor that assists families in finding child care and in successful linkages to other services as needed.  There will be no United Way administrative costs applied or taken from this fund.  It is our goal to serve at least 50 families for an average of 58 days of care at $20 per day, therefore establishing a goal of raising $65,000 or more for the fund for this year.

Two-fold Benefit
For the Community:  Establishing a separate fund allows the community to have more direct involvement in its management and success and also frees up money in the United Way Impact Fund to cover services that are critical to the community, but have perhaps less marketing appeal to individual donors.

For Families:   The Child Care Scholarship Fund will help parents go to work or back to school to improve their family financial status and eventually become self-sufficient.  Child Care Scholarships allow families to enroll in a child care program of their choice throughout Butler County while supporting a family service counselor who works with families to choose a child care center to meet their needs.  There are 46 child care centers, 24 family child care homes and six group homes providing child care in Butler County.

Accountability
This single source of funds will be managed by the Child Care Information Services (CCIS), an agency that guides families through the system to help them move from using United Way Scholarship funds to CCIS funds with the ultimate goal of financial stability, when they no longer need assistance.  Oversight will be provided by a community committee that will monitor the use of funds and the results