May 15, 2014 Meeting

Meeting Agenda – May 15, 3:30-5:00
Location: KY3 Community Room

I. Welcome – Gail Smart and Greg Burris

II. Poverty Simulation Outreach by Sector – Greg Burris

III. Presentation: Food Insecurity and Access to Healthy Foods

a. Presenters

Bart Brown, Ozarks Food Harvest
Mary Kromrey, Healthy Living Alliance
Stephanie Smith, Healthy Living Alliance
Gail Smart, Center City Christian Outreach

IV. Questions and Discussion

V. Adjourn

Commission Attendees:        

Gail Smart, Center City Christian Outreach, Co-Chair

Nate Bibens, The Network

Scott Brady, CPO Board of Directors

Rob Fulp, First Community Bank

Brendan Griesemer, City of Springfield

Traci Louvier, Tuthill Vacuum

Morey Mechlin, Care to Learn

John Oke-Thomas, Minorities in Business

Francine Pratt, United Way Board of Directors

Linda Ramey-Greiwe, Springfield News-Leader

Mary Ann Rojas, City of Springfield

Time Rosenbury, Butler Rosenbury & Partners

Carl Rosenkranz, OACAC

Cora Scott, City of Springfield

Winter Skelton, CFO

Dr. Mike Stout, MSU

Mark Struckhoff, Council of Churches

Maura Taylor, Health Commission

Jaimie Trussell, Convoy of Hope

Guests:

Dana Carroll, Every Child Promise

Kimberly Shinn-Brown

Staff Support:

Janet Dankert, CPO

Myra Massey, CPO

 

Meeting Notes:

 

Co-Chair Gail Smart opened the meeting and thanked everyone for attending. At the previous meeting, Carl was asked to bring information to the group regarding additional poverty simulation events. Gail asked Carl to share this information.

Carl asked for assistance in scheduling two or three simulations in June and listed the requirements: Forty to eighty participants; a facility of 3,000 square feet; and a two week notice.   OACAC provides trained staff and paid and unpaid volunteers. Carl suggested that businesses be recruited to participate in order to broaden the scope of knowledge in the area. Meghan Visser is the contact person at OACAC, 417-873-3372 or mvisser@oacac-caa.org.

Dana Carroll, Every Child Promise, and Kimberly Shinn-Brown, OACAC-Head Start, presented information about child care for the under-resourced, emphasizing five of the most significant areas: Quality; Affordability; Transportation; Mildly Ill Care; and Lack of Information.

When looking for child care, a parent should be able to observe a teacher’s interaction with the children in her care. Watch for use of vocabulary, open-ended questions, and the teacher’s ability to manage the classroom while allowing for creativity. Often the under-resourced are forced to choose lower quality care because the quality care is not affordable.

Affordability is a major roadblock for the under-resourced. An enrollment fee of $25.00 to $150.00 is required for most, if not all, child care programs. OTC has the lowest cost per child of $95.00 per week, but they do not provide infant/toddler care. On the high end, a private day care may be $250.00 per week or more. Most do not provide infant/toddler care, or if they do, it comes at a much higher cost. MSU, UCCC, OTC, DCO, Lighthouse, etc. are subsidized in some way but still remain beyond the budgets of many people. Roadblocks other than lack of infant/toddler care can be lack of evening or overnight care as well as weekend care. Subsidized childcare will not pay while parent(s) are job hunting.

Transportation, or lack of transportation, is an obvious roadblock for many parents because of the expense of owning and operating cars. Buses are available within the City of Springfield, but routes are long, some requiring transfer, and is required twice each day regardless of weather.

If you have a child in child care, and that child is running a fever, that child cannot return until he has been fever-free for 24 hours. In such an instance, there must be back-up care, possibly with a family member or neighbor, or the parent must miss work, unless they are working at a “family friendly” business. Dana and Kimberly were asked to send information to the group that would describe a business of this nature. Licensing requirements for caring for mildly ill children make the service so expensive it is economically unfeasible.

Lack of information regarding child care facilities makes it difficult to choose which is best at a cost the family can afford.

Head Start has 554 preschools slots in Springfield; the slots are full with a waiting list of about 140 as of this presentation. A point system is used to determine what children to take first, with one-parent families rising above two-parent families. Early Head Start has 112 slots in Springfield; 600 spots are actually needed for infant/toddler care. In addition to child care, Head Start also provides support to the families by focusing on school readiness; teaching parents the hidden rules, what is expected of them as parents and what is expected of their children.

Head Start is funded by the Federal and State governments, along with leveraged subsidy dollars. Some parents pay a co-pay of $35.00 per week with a $45.00 per week fee for infant/toddler, or whatever the parent’s subsidy rate is plus $10.00. Depending on income, the co-pay may be waived. The Federal poverty income guidelines for a family of four is $23,850.00 and $15,470.00 for a two-person family.

If families do not have children enrolled in Head Start, child care subsidies, funded by the State and managed through the Department of Social Services, are available to the under-resourced if certain qualifications are met. Sometimes, this is still more than the parent(s) can afford and not always quality care. A table was provided with breakdowns of income, subsidy, and co-pay. Because child care is so expensive, it is often better for a parent, who would have to work for a lower wage, not to work and instead receive assistance.

In summary, Kimberly and Dana identified child care gaps as: Evening and weekend care; infant/toddler care; part-time vs. full-time care; drop-in or temporary care; and care for the mildly ill and/or family friendly businesses.

After a short question and answer period, the meeting was adjourned at 5:10 p.m. The next meeting will be Thursday, May 15th at KY3. The topic to be covered is Food Insecurity and Access to Healthy Foods.