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Forum on childcare block grant operations

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - The Legislature's Public Hearing Room was filled with emotion from business owners who receive funding from the Child Care Development Block Grant, administered by the Department of Public Health. Several day care providers were concerned about the length of time the entire process takes to receive payment as well as the shortage of staff at the agency.

Currently Public Health has 20 days to process paperwork and submit it to the Department of Administration for payment. DOA then has 15 days to cut the check. One provider said, "I'm sorry, it is too long it - it gives them excuse to do other things and only at the last moment you're going to do it and you find out your overwhelmed with this much. That says something for me it says you need more workers."

DPHSS director James Gillan said his door is open adding he's been trying to fix the problems with the Child Care Development Block Grant program since he started working at the agency on April 4. "What it's going to take to fix that is money, money that we don't have. That's why we're taking a very tedious long term approach on how we're processing the things we're processing and I think that the staff at the block grant level with the Child Care Block Development Grant Fund has found ways  to shorten the period its still long," he explained.

Others questioned why it sometimes takes longer to receive funding through direct deposit than by mail. Another day care provider asked whether government agencies that also receive this federal funding are held to the same standards as the private sector, saying, "Are they going to same scrutiny as a private entity? Because that's competitive. Are they going to have inspection as we have I don't know does DOE get reinspected every year... those are my concerns I have as private entity."

Gillan said, "I will look at to make sure that they have to comply the same way that you do the only thing is they don't have to pay tax, that's the government, I can't do much about that."

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