Daycares struggle waiting for federal grants
Guam - The government has fallen behind on federal block grant payments to daycare operations. Some such businesses depend on this money to stay in business and this month it seems the payments were even later than usual.
Ross White, vice president of Guam Childcare Development Association and owner of Kiddlyland Daycare in Dededo, says the government has once again slipped-up in paying federal block grant money to daycares for services they provide to qualified parents. White say they are often behind on making payments but this month he has waited 21 days for a $13,000 check for services provided during the month of October.
He told KUAM News, "The Department of Administration has had the checks printed since the 15th and I have been following up since then they have told me they Are waiting for the signature machine and each day I have been following up they have told me That the treasurer has all checks on hold and he has not authorize any checks to be released."
Joey Manibusan acting director of DOA confirmed to KUAM News than they are trying to control the release of payments in order to keep cash situation in better standing. But for White, the lack of payment has had a devastating affect. He continued, "We have missed the last payroll; we missed paying our rent. My utilities are behind, my payroll taxes have not been paid. I'll get a hefty fine for that."
Kiddyland employee Patty Arazzas say the lag in payment is even affecting her familiy's health, saying, "It affects our budget and even my bills. I cannot pay my bills, especially now my husband and son's medication, so I cannot do anything." White added, "They not only can't make bill payments, but they can't do any Christmas shopping for the families, so this is affecting us pretty severely."
And White says he is not the only one. As the vice president of the Childcare Development Association he says he hears from other daycare owners on a daily basis who are in the same predicament.
When KUAM News spoke with DOA treasurer Rose Fejeran today she assured us that the checks, totally $96,500 would be issued to daycare providers today, she says Kiddyland is on the list to receive a payment. Fejeran says the delay in payment is due to a delay in the release of necessary paperwork from the Department of Public Health and Social Services - the very agency that processes the block grant vouchers.
She says DOA is supposed to release the federal funds with in three day of receiving the paperwork from Public Health, but admits this month DOA may have fallen behind a day or two in issuing the checks.
But for White, the stress continues. He expects his payment for November to late as well - he was told DOA has not received the paper work from DPHSS in order to process the payments, meaning next month's checks maybe even more than 21 days late.
Linda Susuico, chief human services administration at the Public Health, says there was a two-week delay in processing the establishment of an account for the grant funds for the current fiscal year. This, she says, led to a delay in the payments.