Child care: States are helping unemployed parents pay for childcare while they look for work
The jobless who are actively searching for work can receive assistance for up to three months. Their copays will be waived until they start a job. The measure, which is being funded by a federal grant, begins July 1 and runs through September 30, 2022.
“For some Texans looking for a job, child care is that last piece of the puzzle that will help them reenter the workforce,” said Aaron Demerson, a commissioner representing employers.
Other states have also taken steps to help parents get back into the job market. Oklahoma opened up its childcare subsidy program to jobless residents seeking work in May 2020, using federal funds from an early coronavirus relief package passed by Congress. Parents can receive aid for up to 60 days to look for employment or go on interviews.
Some 348 families have utilized the subsidy program over the past year, said Keili McEwen, spokeswoman for Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services.
Some 11 states allowed unemployed job seekers to access childcare subsidies even prior to the pandemic, said Karen Schulman, director of state childcare policy at the National Women’s Law Center. Another five states told the center last year that they temporarily opened their programs to the jobless during the outbreak.
Not only is it very helpful for parents to have childcare while looking for a job, but knowing they will qualify for subsidies once they start working also makes it easier for them to accept offers, Schulman said.
“It’s essential to have that time for a parent to focus on what they need to do to get the job and also to have the peace of mind that when they get a job, they have a secure childcare arrangement,” she said.