Assistance Available For Child-Care Providers

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There is financial reimbursement for child-care providers who would like assistance paying for meals they serve to their charges, birth to 12 years old.

The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered in Payson by BJ Enterprises.

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Amy Hibbert mixes mashed potatoes for lunch to feed the children at her day care.

Current reimbursement rates are $1.06 for breakfast, 58 cents for snacks and $1.96 for lunch and/or dinner.

In order to qualify, "providers must follow government standards of a healthy diet for children and attend yearly nutrition training (provided by BJE)," said BJE employee Ruby Lane.

For the last 10 years it has been Lane's job to teach child care providers how to complete the required paperwork and make certain they understand the requirements of the food program. She checks provider homes quarterly and reviews their menus monthly.

"I like the personal, consistent service I get from Ruby," said Amy Hibbert who has been a client of BJE for six years.

"We spend about $1,200 a month on food (for the 19 children I care for), and if we weren't on the program we would have to pass food costs onto the parents," Hibbert said.

"The enrollment process is simple," Lane said.

The main criteria for obtaining the reimbursement is that you are providing meals for someone else's children.

This means a person could be a certified child-care provider with the state or a friend or relative taking care of children. For example, a grandmother who watches her three grandchildren after school and serves them each a snack and dinner five days a week could be reimbursed a total of $38.10 per week.

A parent would need to meet low-income guidelines to qualify for their own children in addition to the others they are watching. In that instance, according to Lane, if your child qualifies for the school lunch program, they should qualify for this one.

Providers of any kind must be inspected by the fire department (free), health department ($50) and be fingerprinted ($53 processing fee).

To find out more about the program, contact Lane at (928) 472-7619 or BJ Enterprises' main office at (602) 946-9729.

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