Steamboat Springs Routt County parents who have hit a speed bump in their financial road can turn to First Impressions of Routt County for help in meeting their child care expenses.
Renee Donahue, community liaison for the First Impressions Board, said Friday the group's Hardship Fund still contains $3,000 of an original $5,000 in grant money to help parents work through short-term financial challenges. The funds were obtained through the Yampa Valley Community Foundation.
The monies are not meant to be used over the long term, Donahue said, but to stabilize family situations in the short term. For example, "If a single parent had a reduction in her work hours for two months," the money might be available to ensure child care for children in the family remained uninterrupted Donahue said.
Parents interested in tapping into the fund must be willing to submit paperwork verifying their income, and work with her on household budgeting issues. Also, in the case of single parents, they must be willing to cooperate with an effort to obtain child support from the other parent, if child support payments aren't already forthcoming, Donahue said. An exception to that requirement would arise if it raised a safety issue, she added.
First Impressions of Routt County is a board of local residents working to address all issues relating to early childhood care and education on a countywide basis
Qualifying parents also need a plan to become more self sufficient in the near future.
First Impressions is seeking support from area businesses to expand the balance in the Hardship Fund, Donahue said. One aspect of the program the board is eager to explore would allow individual businesses to make deposits in the fund to be used for their own employees. Donahue's office could then administer the funds to employees of that business who meet the criteria for obtaining help.
"That's something we would really like to see happen," Donahue said.
First Impressions is working to raise public awareness of child care as a work force issue, Donahue said.
Donahue works out of the Human Services office in the Routt County Courthouse annex on Sixth Street. She can be reached by telephone at a direct line 870-5270.
To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210 or e-mail: email@example.com