Putting Childcare Within Reach

How one local award makes it possible.

The Child Care Council of Westchester is pleased to announce the 2012 Lanza Investment in Kid’s Early Education (LIKE) Award, funded by The Lanza Family Foundation. The LIKE Award is a brand-new scholarship program that began January 1 and continues through December 31. The Council expects to award approximately 20 scholarships of $5,000 each.

The LIKE Award Scholarships make a real difference in the lives of many children in Westchester. The scholarships enable the recipients to place their children in quality, licensed childcare settings. “The scholarship gives me peace of mind, because now I can afford the quality childcare that she deserves,” says Sarah L., a past recipient of a Child Care Council childcare scholarship. “I am so grateful that the staff told me about the scholarship opportunity.” Ms. L. is a single mom who receives little support because her ex-husband has been unemployed for the past two years. Her child attends the Mt. Kisco Child Care Center.

The Child Care Council of Westchester created the scholarship to address the growing need for childcare scholarships, a demand that has risen substantially as a result of the struggling economy. This past year, Westchester County suspended its childcare scholarship program, which had been funded by the Westchester County Department of Social Services. The cost of licensed childcare in Westchester can exceed $25,000 a year for two children. For some, a scholarship like this can make the difference in whether or not they can afford to go to work and place their child in a licensed, safe and nurturing childcare program.

LIKE Award Qualifications

  • Parents who live in Westchester County, are employed full time and meet income and family size requirements are eligible to apply.
  • Children must be enrolled full time in a childcare center or family or group family childcare program that serves infants, toddlers or preschoolers.
  • The childcare center must be located in Westchester County.
  • The center is regulated by the Office of Children and Family Services.
  • The center has participated in a Child Care Council of Westchester, Inc., quality improvement project or agrees to participate in one, or is nationally accredited.

Westchester resident Patricia Lanza is an unsung hero. She has generously donated $100,000 to make the LIKE scholarships available. Over the years, she has quietly changed people’s lives by paying attention to what they need and listening when they speak of their dreams. Lanza has been a dedicated benefactor to many organizations that help women, children and families in need. She has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to high school girls who dreamed of going to college but didn’t have the means. As far away as Swaziland, she has provided the tools for hungry families to learn how to grow vegetables for food and profit. She helps community groups that work for peace and equality and feed the homeless. Most recently, she has extended her giving to childcare services, as she believes the younger we reach children, the more favorable the outcome. She has been a generous, dedicated contributor to scholarship programs, believing that investing in education reaps great rewards. Likewise, Lanza was awarded the 2011 Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year award by the Association of Development Officers.

The Child Care Council of Westchester is a private, nonprofit resource organization that champions the healthy development of children, families and communities by promoting quality early care and education. A unique, one-stop agency for childcare, the Council offers parent referrals, training, information, technical assistance, reports on the industry, and public education for parents, childcare programs, governmental organizations and the business community. Since its inception in 1968, the Council has grown to become the premier authority on childcare services throughout Westchester County.

Learn more about the program and download an application at www.childcarewestchester.org.