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Public hearing set on day care funding cuts

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Some Erie County elected officials vow to keep fighting for parents cut out of the county's day care assistance program. A public hearing is scheduled for 6:00 P.M. Wednesday night at the Delavan Grider Community Center.

Click the audio player above to hear Joyce Kryszak's full story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.

Earlier this month the Collins administration announced that it would raise the income level for parents to qualify for child care subsidies. About 1,500 children are affected by the decision. The decision came suddenly, with parents given only 30 days to make up the difference. Lawmaker Maria Whyte said she is hearing from parents every day who say they simply can't.

Whyte said many are telling her they will have to quit their jobs and apply for even more public assistance. She said lawamkers are scurrying to make sure the county executive hears what kind of impact his decision is having.

Erie County Comptroller Mark Polocarz said he is busy investigating why this happened. The cut was made when the state lowered its portion of the aid by ten million dollars. But Polocarz said he found out the county knew about the cut more than a year ago.

He said they had plenty of time to come up with a different plan. Now Poloncarz wants to know how much more money the county stands to lose if some of the parents end up on public assistance. But he said social services is not being very cooperative with his investigation.

Any additional financial burdens on social services will hit the county hard. The administration is already struggling to close a projected budget gap of $50 million next year.