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Affordable after school programs

Posted at 6:32 PM, Aug 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-02 18:32:36-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — In Florida, it can cost a family over $7,000 a year to have their kid in a childcare center for before school, after school, or day care. That's according to recent data from World Population Review.

In an effort to make childcare more affordable, one organization is helping families afford quality after school programs, like the one at Life Deliverance Ministry.

Phyllis Watkins is the Executive Director of Life Deliverance Ministry, or LDM, Academy. She's been taking care of children in the community from babies to school aged for twelve years now. Their after school program picks kids up from surrounding schools and watches them until their parents can leave work.

"They get an afternoon snack, they get help with homework, they can have games and activities like board games and outside games, those kinds of things," said Watkins.

Watkins said the kids are always excited to see her after school.

"A safe environment where they'll feel loved and supported in the different activities as far as homework and social skills," said Watkins.

However, it's not something every family can afford. The LDM Academy after school program will cost a parent $50 to apply and $350 a month for an elementary school student.

But, they're partnering with the Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend's school readiness program, to help more families have access to affordable quality childcare.

The program allows families with a gross income below 200% the federal poverty level to send their children to before or after school programs for low to no cost. For example, that would be a family of four making less than $60,000 dollars a year.

Megan Glasgow with ELC said more families can now ensure their children have a safe, fun place to go after school without breaking the bank.

"Childcare is their biggest bill," said Glasgow. "It's something that they have to consider working maybe two or more jobs, having their family members watch their children so this program allows them to have a smaller childcare bill."

There are over 30 childcare options through the ELC for families here in Leon County.
With LDM Academy being one of them, Watkins said help from the ELC will allow parents to send multiple children to the academy once they're old enough.

"Parents who have children that are there now who have infants that they are looking forward to them turning one so that they can enroll them in our programs so yeah I think all our parents are excited," said Watkins.

Watkins said they still have eight spots left for kids to enroll in their afters chool program.

However, families in the six surrounding counties can also use ELC's school readiness program to help get their children enrolled before school starts. To check for elligibilty and a list of providers, you can visitELC's website.