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Fee will help Hampton child care recoup costs

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 11:44 p.m.

Beginning next year, it will cost $60 to register a child for early morning or late afternoon day care at one of Hampton Township's three elementary schools.

Hampton currently offers free registration for the child care.

Hampton Council approved the new registration fee at council's Oct. 24 meeting.

“We have been doing this (program) as a public service,” said Victor Son, council president. “We're merely trying to recoup our costs.”

Son described the township's state-licensed latchkey program as “a tremendous bargain.”

Alex Zarenko, the township's director of community services, requested the new registration fee to help compensate for an estimated $8,000 shortfall in anticipated revenue from the program.

State rules require the township to staff the program based on participation, but a number of people fail to use the service after they register children — at no charge — to participate in the program.

Hampton's latchkey program offers before-school and after-school care for children, ages 6 to 12, from 7 to 8 a.m., and 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays, at Poff, Wyland and Central elementary schools.

The current costs are $9 per day, per child, for morning care; $15 per day, per child, for afternoon care; and $20 per day, per child, for morning and afternoon child care.

People may use the service as frequently or infrequently as they wish.

“They only pay as they go,” said Zarenko.

This year, parents registered approximately 140 children for the day care program.

“The registrations are stable,” Zarenko said. “Total attendance is diminished.”

In 2011, the latchkey program logged 7,724 visits by registered children, compared to 9,600 visits in 2010.

The program's new $60-per-child registration fee will go into effect Jan. 2, 2013. The cost to register two children for the program will be $97, and $134 to register three children.

“This revenue will offset the projected deficit,” Zarenko said, referring to the latchkey program's anticipated shortfall in 2012 income.

“It's still 25 to 54 percent cheaper than private sector, with this new fee,” Zarenko said about the latchkey program.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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