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      Help for Valley child care services

      The economic crisis has been tough on everybody and cuts to state and federal programs are everywhere.

      But if you're working or going to school and can't afford child care services, then there's a program that could help you.

      To get your child in day care, you might have to pay a hefty price each week.

      "We charge $120 dollars for infants to three month olds and $100 dollars for the older kids," said Maria Sanchez, owner of Lupita's Child Development Center.

      If you're balancing school and work, you might need a sitter, but with all the bills piling up and the economic crisis, it could be a challenge to pay.

      "Even if they wanted to, they wouldn't have been able to because they couldn't pay," said Sanchez.

      Sanchez has been in the business for 17 years.

      "The economy has gotten bad, but thank God we're still here," she said.

      Sanchez said her center services just over 60 kids at a time and around 40 of them are from parents that use a program called Child Care Services.

      "Thanks to Texas Workforce Solutions, they have this program so that the kids could come to a good place that prepares themselves for Pre-K," said Sanchez.

      With this program, both the child care center and the parent benefits.

      The center gets their clients and the money rolls in and parents, who can't afford care, get help from the government.

      "If they can prove that they're going to school or actively looking for a job or working, and child care assistance is a potential barrier for them fulfilling that goal, then that's the beginning process," said Victor De Leon with Workforce Solutions.

      De Leon said they are then screened for income, other services they could be using, and then Workforce Solutions looks at their eligibility requirements.

      De Leon said about 58 percent of Workforce Solutions' budget goes to child care assistance.

      In just three years, the program has serviced 3,000 more children from Starr, Hidalgo and Willacy counties, showing the growing need for help.

      The program is funded through federal and state governments.

      De Leon said although budget cuts haven't been finalized, he doesn't foresee any cuts that would directly affect the program.

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