By Peter Becker
Child Care Information Services (CCIS), a program run by Pike County for roughly the last 40 years, is being switched to a nonprofit group and run from an office in Hawley.
Jill Gamboni, Director of CCIS in Pike County, briefed the Commissioners about the status of the program at their Dec. 19th meeting. The services, utilized by an average 285 clients in Pike in a year's time, will continue, she stressed. Servicing those clients, however, will differ. The change takes place in July 2013, and clients stopping in are being told of the change ahead.
CCIS aims to provide safe, affordable child care for families so that adults can continue to work or attend school. Assistance is also provided to families who need help paying their child care cost. Families are connected with services and programs in their community.
Families that meet income eligibly requirements can receive financial assistance for a portion of child care costs, paid through the Department of Public Welfare. CCIS is funded by the Department of Public Welfare through a contract with the Pike County Commissioners.
Starting next July, Northeastern Child Care Services (NCCS), a nonprofit organization based in Lackawanna County, will run the program for Pike County, as well as Wayne and Susquehanna counties.
This year, the state offered counties to make an application to run the program, competing against nonprofit organizations. Commissioner Chairman Richard Caridi said it may have been "preordained" that the nonprofit organizations would be favored, in order to save the state money. Gamboni had worked for months to prepare a bid application to continue the contract with Pike County.
NCCS presently administers CCIS in Wayne and Susquehanna and will take on Pike. Gamboni said that their satellite office will be in Hawley, next to Northampton Community College (behind the Sunoco station). They will have one and a half staff positions dedicated to serve Pike clients, she noted.
As it is set up now, there are three staff persons serving Pike, Gamboni said. Their job positions with the program will be lost. Gamboni has been the director for 11 years.
Commissioner Caridi stated that space has been offered to NCCS to come down and meet with clients face to face so they don't have to travel to Hawley.
Gamboni commended the County with having been willing to bid on the contract since many counties declined. The contract is for five years, and it is hard to commit to expenses that far ahead.
The CCIS Pike County office, located at 837 Route 6, Unit 3 in Shohola, may be contacted at (570)296-3447.