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Child caregivers protest after weeks without pay

January 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Dozens of childcare providers and parents gathered outside the Center For Community and Family Services Thursday morning demanding answers with a march and notes plastered on the front door of the offices.

"As of December 28, we were waiting on a paycheck and we only got 20 percent of our paychecks, with no call, no warning ahead of time, so we don't know whether we're going to get paid our money right now or not," said childcare provider Ruby Evans.

They are subsidized by the state for taking care of low-income children. Some say they risk losing their homes and businesses because they've been waiting for weeks for their checks.

"In the meantime, providers have been late with their mortgages, we have to get extensions on our utility bills, you can't buy the things that you need for your childcare, you got bounced checks, you got bank fees, and nobody's giving anybody interest on the late payments," said childcare provider Tonia McMillian.

Employees from CCFS did go out and talk to the protesters, but most still seemed unsatisfied.

"We don't know when we're getting our 80 percent. Last summer we waited 90 days for our payments," said childcare provider LaShaun Merriman.

CCFS released a statement Thursday afternoon saying they have been in contact with the childcare union and that all workers will be paid by Jan. 31.

"Despite these efforts, and in light of the budget crisis, Local 99 chose to move forward with the protest to rally membership. CCFS was presently in a meeting with CDE (California Department of Education) in another office location during the protest and was not able to provide immediate response," the statement read.

But in the meantime, parents like Vanise Valentine, who is a student and single mom, say they're hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

"I've been on pins and needles, especially because there's no communication. CCFS hasn't communicated anything with anyone, so nobody knows," said Valentine.