At United Way of Story County (UWSC), we believe that when we are United together, we can find solutions that make long-lasting, positive change in the lives of individuals and families, which is why our 2018 LIVE UNITED Campaign theme is “In order to live better, we must LIVE UNITED.” Because when we LIVE UNITED, everyone wins.


United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of everyone in our community. This week we’re diving in to how UWSC funded programs help to increase the take home pay of individuals who have low to moderate income, specifically in regards to child care expenses.


You may have heard of the “cliff effect” effecting families of low-income who are receiving Child Care Assistance (CCA). The cliff effect comes into play when a family reaches a certain income, thus losing all of their CCA benefits. Often times, a raise of even 15 cents an hour can mean a loss of over $4,000 per year in aid. Because of the repercussions this causes, families are faced with decisions to continue to work for low wages, switch to lower-quality child care or leave their jobs all together.


With child care expenses for a family with two children reaching an average of over $1,000 in Story County and child care openings continuing to be scarce, the child care crisis is something we cannot ignore. To combat this issue, UWSC funds sliding fee scales at four childcare centers in Story County.


Based on household income, sliding fee scales allow families to obtain quality child care services at a reduced rate. While many Iowans spend more on child care than they do on their own housing, these savings allow families to put more money toward basic needs like food and utilities. The four child care centers UWSC partners with are Story Time Child Care Center in Maxwell and ACPC, ChildServe and University Community Childcare, all in Ames. Between the four sites, over 200 children and their families have benefited from sliding fee scales this past year alone.


UWSC also funds programming at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Story County, which offers memberships for After School Club starting at $25 and Summer Club at $50. This low-cost enrichment opportunity offers school-aged children a nurturing environment where they can learn and interact with their peers. Last year, over 500 club members attended their programs.


In order to be financially stable, all basic needs must be met. Child care is an expensive but basic need for families. Donations made through United Way can lessen the burden of a single parent working to increase income while knowing his/her children are safe and cared for. By providing access to quality child care, we can brighten the future of so many children and families in Story County.