Changes to Childcare Fin. Aid Program
In order to meet the increased demand for childcare financial aid for families who have the most need, Kids First has made several changes to its financial aid program on the recommendation of the Kids First Advisory Board.

Effective immediately for new applicants, the maximum income to qualify has been changed to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level or $90,000 adjusted gross income, whichever is lower. Previously, the amount was 560 percent of the poverty level. These changes will be effective June 1, 2011, for families currently receiving financial aid through Kids First. 

“Reducing the maximum income to qualify was a difficult decision to make; however, it was necessary due to the decrease in sales tax revenue,” said Sue Way, chair of the Kids First Advisory Board. “These changes allow Kids First to help the families most in need.”

Further changes to the financial aid application process include adding interviews for applicants and including stronger language to discourage any possible fraudulent use of precious public dollars.

“Additional restrictions on qualifications were necessary to keep the financial aid program viable and serving those in the community who need assistance the most,” said Shirley Ritter, director of Kids First.

Ritter added that Kids First wanted to let people know that falsifying information is a crime.

“Our reduced revenues from the sales tax and the increased need for assistance have led us to examine our financial aid program closely with the Advisory Board,” Ritter said. “Are we helping the people that need it the most? We’re doing everything we can to make sure of that.”

Kids First Childcare Financial Assistance Program is funded through a .45 percent City of Aspen sales tax dedicated to housing and daycare. Nationally, it is a unique program. Kids First is a department of the City of Aspen and is served by an advisory board that makes recommendations to the Aspen City Council. There are currently 10 community members on the Kids First Advisory Board.

Posted on Monday, January 17, 2011