The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs has announced the opening of 300 more slots for the government's child care program, allowing it to accommodate more clients, including those families who were priced out of the program due to the recent minimum wage hikes.
For this opening, DCCA is giving priority to those parents who are full-time students with no income at all as well as those parents attending school, training, or working. Based on the department's announcement, once it fills all needed slots, the pre-eligibility assessment will be stopped.
The CNMI Child Care program is a federally funded initiative that gets $1.9 million every year from the U.S. Child Care Development Block Grant Program. The money is used by the Commonwealth to pay for the services rendered by child care centers.
As of September last year, the child care program had under its wing 26 child care centers, 21 family day care centers, and one home care provider.
DCCA Secretary Melvin Faisao told Saipan Tribune that it is the agency's hope to cover the families who became ineligible to be a recipient of the child care program due to the recent minimum wage hike.
Faisao said the 300 slots they opened for new applicants are based on the state plan approved for the program for fiscal year 2013.
The pre-eligibility assessments will be done at the DCCA Rota Office on Feb. 12 and DCCA Tinian Office on Feb. 6.
For full time students with zero income, assessment is ongoing every Tuesdays and Thursdays at the DCCA office on Capital Hill.
In fiscal year 2012, the program served about 433 children on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.