Holy Cross Ministries Salt Lake City Utah

Some Utah families are not getting help paying for child care, which advocates say violates federal rules

Utah kids are being hurt by state eligibility rules that improperly consider their parents’ immigration status, family advocates argue.

Some immigrant parents in Utah are being denied financial help from the state with their child care bills, a rejection that advocates contend goes against federal guidelines.

Although that legal point is not yet resolved, advocates also argue the state should choose to assist these families now — as many immigrant parents are working in jobs considered essential during the coronavirus pandemic and millions of dollars of federal relief money are pouring into Utah.

And they’re hoping that change will happen with a new administration under Gov. Spencer Cox, who has prioritized early learning and education, as well as equality and opportunity for all Utahns.

”It really is critical that the state change their practice ASAP,” said Emmie Gardner, CEO of Holy Cross Ministries, a nonprofit that assists underserved communities. Many of these families, she said, “so desperately need this child care subsidy.”