About 800 families in West Virginia could lose the government subsidies they’ve been getting to help pay for child care next year.  Beginning in August, their share for that care is also going to grow.

State Department of Health and Human Resources Spokesperson John Law says the availability of fewer federal dollars is forcing the DHHR to change the way it helps pay for that care. 

"Like so many programs, some of the federal money that we were using to supplement the payment has run out and we’re now having to look closely at the programs," he told MetroNews.

Co-pays will go up, later this summer, from 5% to 12% for all of the families that draw on the federal help which is available in specific cases.

For example, "If a family has to work or take classes to become employed, there would be a supplement to help pay for their child care," Law said.

Starting in January, though, families with incomes between 150% and 185% of the federal poverty rate will no longer receive any supplements in those cases.  It means a family earning between $33,525 and $41,348 a year would be on their own.

It will be 2013 before the changes take effect.  Unlike in other states, Law says they’re trying to give plenty of notice of the moves that will take eligibility, here in West Virginia, back to the federal minimum requirements.

"People do have to make other arrangements and we are certainly cognizant of that and that’s why we worked very diligently to find the money to keep the people that were currently receiving this on, at least until January, when redeterminations will start, so that they can make some other arrangements," he said.

Law says the state of the economy at the start of 2013 will determine exactly how many families will be impacted.  Right now, he estimates care dollars will be the child care supplements will be cut for 1,400 kids.

Child care providers will not see any reductions when it comes to state reimbursements.

The changes could save the DHHR almost $8 million every year.

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