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Revised figures: 550 to 800 kids to lose child care subsidy

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Guilford County Government graphic

Guilford County over estimated the number of children who will be affected by state changes to the child care subsidy program by hundreds of kids, according to the county.

The county reported to the News & Record on Tuesday that 1,000 to 1,300 children would lose their child care

subsidies because of new state rules.

That number is closer to 550 to 800 children because of an error in the way the county analyzed state data, officials with the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday.

The county had estimated that 500 to 600 children would be added to the program after state guidelines change. That figure also was inaccurate, but the county doesn’t have a new estimate available yet.

Joe Raymond, the county’s DHHS director, said Wednesday that the figures were wrong because a county analysis accidentally counted some children more than once.

“It wasn’t intentional,” Raymond said. “It was data query.”

County social services has been beset with troubles this year.

The former director resigned following the revelation in March that the department had hidden a backlog of food stamp recertifications.

Raymond was hired to run a revamped department that combined public health and human services.

The state DHHS has had its own difficulties, including technology problems with its new food stamp software.

This week’s technical troubles were on Guilford County’s end.

The county staff asked the state DHHS to provide information on which children would be affected by changes to the program that helps poor families pay for child care costs.

Because of the way the county queried the state database, the resulting

information included duplicate answers, Raymond said.

That caused some children to be counted more than once in the figures the county released Tuesday — something officials didn’t realize until they explored the issue further Wednesday, Raymond said.

Based on a new analysis of the state data, upward of 800 local children could lose their subsides after the program’s guidelines change, said Denise Hill, the manager of Guilford County’s child care program.

Raymond said he takes responsibility for the erroneous figures, although he pointed out that the figures were only estimates that likely will change as the state rolls out all of the changes to the program.

Contact Amanda Lehmert at (336) 373-7075, and follow @alehmert_NR on Twitter.

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