Innamorato pledges $500k to alleviate child care ‘crisis’

Sara Innamorato plays with children at Shady Lane School in Point Breeze North. (Photo by Jamie Wiggan/PublicSource)

New County Executive Sara Innamorato says she’s investing in child care to empower parents and caregivers to reinvigorate the regional economy.


by Jamie Wiggan, PublicSource

Sara Innamorato laid out a new administration priority yesterday, allocating $500,000 to a pilot program for subsidizing child care in one of her first big moves since taking office.

The new Allegheny County executive said the region faces an “urgent crisis” in child care while announcing the funds during a tour of the Shady Lane School daycare center in Point Breeze North.

Innamorato said thousands of local families may be unable to afford care for their children in the absence of government help, which could pull parents out of the workforce and hamper economic growth.

“Child care is such a priority of my administration,” Innamorato said. “…The work will not stop today.”

The $500,000 boosts an existing county program that subsidizes child care for families making twice to three times the median household income who also meet work or education eligibility requirements. The program – Allegheny County Child Care Matters – began in April 2022 using $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act [ARPA] funds allocated by the federal government to prop up day care services. 

So far, the program has subsidized care costs for 356 children. This week’s top-up will usher in 28 more who make up the current wait list, leaving some leftover funds for an unspecified number of additional children. The administration believes as many as 15,000 children may fall within the eligibility bracket.

Experts say high operational costs and staffing shortages prompted by low pay and high stress have strained the child care sector since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Pennsylvania now has nearly 600 fewer facilities than in 2020, with a net loss of 18 in Allegheny County.

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