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It Takes A Village Administers Daycare Subsidies in Hilltowns
03:10PM / Thursday, January 09, 2020
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CUMMINGTON, Mass. — It Takes a Village, a local nonprofit organization, will now administer a special program for low- and moderate-income families in the Hilltowns to help with the high costs of daycare, preschool, and before- and after-school care.

The Hilltown Childcare Subsidy Program is funded by a Community Development Block Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development and provided to the Town of Chesterfield. Families living in Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Plainfield, Peru, Worthington, or Williamsburg where the parents or guardians are working, in school, or in a work-training program could be eligible for a subsidy to help cover all or most of the cost of childcare for children 5 years old and younger.

"It's a perfect fit," said It Takes a Village’s Development Director Mollie Hartford. "We often interact with families before the baby is born, when they are still planning for their childcare needs. We can connect them directly with this program."

Previously, the Hilltown Community Development Corporation in Chesterfield had administered this program. It Takes a Village, which provides free postpartum support to families in Western Massachusetts, will manage the program along with their other family-oriented services, such as home visits for families with newborns, parent support groups and workshops, and The Village Closet, a donation and distribution center of free maternity, infant, and children’s clothing, diapers, and supplies.

Massachusetts is the second most expensive state in the country in terms of childcare costs. Families in Western Massachusetts can expect to pay more than $15,000 per year on average for center-based childcare for a single child, more than the annual cost of college tuition at a four-year public college. For those families earning below 80 percent of the area median income – the federal designation for "low income" – center-based childcare can be 143 percent of their household income, an impossible reality. In fact, childcare costs are so expensive for low- and moderate-income families that they often cannot afford to work and have children in daycare at the same time, and often postpone school or other work training programs because of the prohibitive cost of childcare. The subsidy program allows low and moderate-income families the ability to improve the likelihood that they will become or remain economically self-sufficient.

Families can choose any childcare facility or program they wish in any town, as long as it is licensed through the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.

"That's what is so special about this program," Hartford said. "Families can choose a care provider that is near their home or work, and that fits their schedule. This year, the program also covers before- and after-school programs."

To view the guidelines, the list of required documentation, and to apply, families can visit the website or call 413-650-3640.

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