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Madison County cuts child care subsidies

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Madison County cuts child care subsidies
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A lack of funding is about to hit some families hard in Madison County, according to their Department of Social Services. YNN's Andrew Sorensen explains why they're now cutting child care subsidies and what the effects will be.

CANASTOTA, N.Y. -- Of the kids playing at Celebration Children's Center in Canastota, 19 won't be here much longer.

The Department of Social Services is cutting subsidies, putting families and child care professionals like Jessica Cornue in a tough place.

"I got a pit in my stomach when I found out. These parents, some of them have been with us for a long time. To know what they're going through, it's hard," Cornue said.

For many parents, it presents a choice: Work, or take care of your child.

"Most of them are single moms who are working hard to try to make do. Now, they're not going to be able to afford to send their children to quality care," Cornue explained.

Madison County DSS Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald said, "Well over the last three years, we've lost approximately $150,000 in allocations. And that's the trouble we're in."

Fitzgerald said they've tried to cut elsewhere in their budget. They sent out letters this week to families they can't cover anymore.

"There's about 50 families representing about 90 children who will lose the child care funding entirely," he said.

Families who are new to the program get to stay on. Anyone who's been in for more than a year is out.

"And so we're hopeful that some of that stability over the last year, those families are in a better positioned to help themselves," said Fitzgerald.

They hope it's just temporary.

In the meantime, studies from Cornell show it's economically detrimental. Mothers can't work and businesses deal with it.

"We have to figure out as an organization how we're going to maybe try to help out our employees that are affected. How many employees to we potentially have to cut to make up for the fact that we're going to lose this many slots?" asked Cornue.

Madison County DSS hopes to restore some funding when funds are re-allocated next summer.

The child care funding will be cut off at the end of December. Madison County DSS says it hopes that gives families enough time to find other options.

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