Fort Bend County Judge KP George said during an Oct. 6 news conference that this program is aimed at helping families and businesses recover from the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There is a genuine need for day care assistance because many times if you cannot afford to send the children to day care, that means you can’t work,” George said. “Also, what happens is the day cares, which are dependent on children coming to their facilities, are struggling.”
The Fort Bend County Commissioners Court initially approved $250,000 of funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act toward its Child Care Voucher Program in March.
Under the program, qualified families can receive a voucher for up to $500 for up to three children per family. The voucher can be used at a participating, licensed child care facility in Fort Bend County.
George said with the first round of funding, vouchers were issued to more than 300 families and helped pay for care for 540 children. Additionally, the vouchers were used at more than 80 child care centers throughout the county, he said.
“The additional allocation of funds continues to speak volumes to the county’s relentlessness to assist residents,” said Curtis Bowens, a project manager at Mpact Strategic Consulting, the organization assisting the county with distributing CARES Act funding.
To be eligible, applicants must be residents of Fort Bend County, have a child under 13 years old, meet specified income criteria and have experienced income loss due to the coronavirus pandemic. County officials said additional information about the expanded program and the application will be available at www.coronavirusfortbend.gov beginning Oct. 11.
Jayme Gorka, director of Good Beginnings Child Care Center in Rosenberg and mother to four children, said she has seen the positive benefits of the voucher program as both a parent and child care provider.
“The child care voucher program has helped me immensely along with some other parents, especially those mothers who are single breadwinners in their home,” Gorka said. “And it’s helped our center as well. We just want to thank the county for allocating those funds for us to help our parents and help us stay afloat during the pandemic.”