Organization helps Tampa Bay parents with cost of daycare

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -- The cost of childcare in this country is staggering. For many working parents, it's hard get ahead in life, because so much money goes into finding quality care for our children.

To help parents with the overwhelming cost, the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County is partnering with some 1,300 daycare facilities across Tampa Bay to help bridge the divide.

"This is an amazing child care facility - I'm really lucky to be able to afford it because it's helped out tremendously," said single mom Marissa Segallos.

Segallos has a child at the Early Learning Center in Tampa which is five-star rated facility that has joined forces with the Coalition to offer quality care at an affordable price.

"We have the quality counts program. The Coalition helped us design this program that we have here at the learning center," said Sandy Spreadbury who heads up The Learning Center.

The partnerships between daycares like The Learning Center and the Coalition is drawing the attention of private donors and that's important because the county agency is operating on a 2001 budget and needs support from the corporate and individual donors to fill that financial void.

"We have been basically beating the streets," said Steve Knobl, the CEO of The Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County.

Knobl explains the Coalition and it's board are trying to educate potential donors that investing in children in the birth to five age group now will not only help families struggling to afford daycare, but insure children don't fall behind later in life when they enter the public school system.

This puts a tremendous weight on the public school system, with some studies showing kids without the proper education leading into kindergarten can fall 11 to 13-months behind.

If you would like to help the Coalition provide scholarships for families in needs, they are playing a role in Giving Tuesday. Visit the Coalition's website here.

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