For parents such as Vanita Adams, government help with day care costs made the difference between employment and welfare.
Adams, who works as a parent aide for Georgia's Macon-Bibb Equal Opportunity Council, received a state subsidy to help her send her two sons to after-school care for about a year.
"I was separated when it started, and becoming a one-income household was very hard," she said. Her divorce was eliminating some of the child care help she had received from family members at the same time she lost income through furloughs.
"Without the help, I probably would have been out of a job," Adams said.
Her plight is common. A quarter of Georgia children younger than age 5 receive some kind of subsidized child care, according to a 2010 report by the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute. And since the recession, demand is higher than ever, child care advocates say.
In 2009, a two-parent family living at the poverty line would have to spend about half its income to afford placing a baby in a day care center, according to a report by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.
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