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Child care cuts in budget hit 60,000 families

October 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Low-income parents are feeling the effect of the state budget crisis. Sacramento lawmakers finally passed a budget last week. The budget was slashed even more by the governor, including money for child care.The cuts will have a severe impact on 2,700 families in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

For more than a decade the state has subsidized low-income families with their child care. This affects many families working their way from welfare to gainful employment.

Three weeks from now there will be fewer children on the playground at Teddy Bear Tymes Child Care Center.

"I just don't understand how anybody could look at children in the face and do this to them," said Linda Drew, executive director of the center.

In an effort to balance the state budget, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed $256 million in child care for low-income families. That leaves working mothers like Antoinette Morales with very few options to care for her four children.

"If they had to get cut, then like I said, I would either have to quit or I would have to put my other son in public school and take my other son out," said Morales.

For Morales, the cuts to her children's child care may mean going back on welfare and leaving her job at the daycare center.

"Hopefully, it doesn't cut because I really, really need the program for the kids," said Morales.

The funding cuts are expected to hit 60,000 California families.

In San Bernardino County, more than 3,200 children will be impacted, while in Riverside County, almost 2,500 children will need alternative child care come November 1.

"Even parents who pay their own tuition, if child care closes because of the loss of this funding, they won't have any place for their children either," said Linda Drew.

The funding will also impact at least 2,000 local daycare providers. Some have already had to cut staffing and hours to make ends meet.

Parents will have just three weeks to find alternative child care when the CalWORKS Stage 3 funding runs out.


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