Day Care Providers and Families Upset at State Agency For Delayed Payments, Lack of Communication

November 09, 2018 10:22 PM

The Department of Human Services says a computer issue could delay payments to Minnesota child care providers for weeks.

But some say they were never notified of the problem and families feel they could be at risk. 

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Many low income families and others in need of temporary help depend on the state's Child Care Assistance Program.

Alicia Williams' puts her kids in child care because her husband was in a horrible motorcycle crash earlier this year.

"Our lives changed forever," said Williams, who is on the Child Care Assistance Program. 

Williams applied for Minnesota's Child Care Assistance Program, where the state helps pay for child care while she goes to work.

"It's essential to me still being able to work and being able to provide at least an income for our family," Williams said. 


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But this week, some child care providers noticed something was up.

"It was just through Facebook where people started asking 'Have you received your payments,'" said Julie Seydel, public policy director with the Minnesota Association of Child Care Professionals. 

 

Seydel says she learned that some providers weren't getting payments from the state, but she says nobody knew why. 

"For some providers it could be 90 to 100 percent of their income coming in," Seydel said. 

The Department of Human Services released a statement Friday saying, "In the last week we became aware of a problem with the computer system for the Child Care Assistance Program. We have temporarily halted payments to child care providers while MNIT Services makes the fix. We are projecting that will occur next week. Payments to some child care providers may be delayed but will not extend beyond the 21 days allowed by law. We apologize for any inconvenience and are working diligently to resolve this issue.

Williams is one of those families who depends on this care.

"If I lose my daycare assistance, I don't know what I'm going to do," Williams said. 

But even if this issue is resolved soon, both she and Seydel agree the lack of communication from the state is frustrating. 

"We understand that things will happen, computer systems will crash. Unfortunately in Minnesota I think we've seen a lot of it with our government with some poor management in the IT systems, but they need to let us know. There needs to be that contact with parents and providers so there isn't that panic," Seydel said. 

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Brett Hoffland

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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