MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Mount Vernon Day Care Center Director Mary Harris is concerned that cuts in the county budget to subsidies for Westchester day-care providers will mean more out-of-pocket expenses for parents.
The cut in the county's disputed 2013 budget means parents will have to fork over 27 percent of the cost, as opposed to 15 percent for the first half of 2012 and 20 percent for the remainder of the year.
“The mothers are the ones who are going to have to make up the cost,” she said. “The money will have to be taken from another pot, whether it be for food or housing. It might just be a few dollars to some, but a lot of these women don’t make a lot of money to begin with. And if they don't have someone to watch their children, they can't work.”
Harris said she has prepared her clients for the possibility of having to pay more for her center’s services.
“Child-care payments are consistently rising,” she said. “It’s still not a done deal because, in the middle of next year, they might tell us they have no more money. It doesn’t seem like there is any protection for our children.
"Across the board, the county should be focusing on quality care and education for children. We need more after-school activities because right now, it’s a bad situation.”
The budget was passed by legislators last week after a majority of the Democrats left the chamber. The Democrats are challenging the validity of the budget.
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