Child Care Centers Bearing The Brunt Of Budget Impasse, Says O'Connell
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell today reports that state-funded child care centers, already burdened by severe cutbacks over the past few years, are now bearing the brunt of the current state budget stalemate.
“Because of the state budget impasse, child care centers that rely on state funding can’t pay their bills, and are being forced to lay off workers, or even close their doors,” said O’Connell. “This is robbing children of important preschool learning opportunities that they cannot get back, and is preventing parents from going to work. We need an approved state budget that is fair and equitable for public education, and we need it as soon as possible.”
The California Department of Education (CDE) received a number of reports of state-funded child care centers that have shut down or are about to shut down, after they have exhausted their cash reserves, and borrowed against future state funding.
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Community Action Partnership of Kern has suspended since August 31, its Migrant Alternative Payment Program, California State Preschool Program, and General Childcare Program. This affects 1,444 children and the layoff or reduction in hours of 275 staff in a six-county area in the Central Valley.
“The unfortunate suspension of state child care services will have a profound effect on both the families we serve and our dedicated employees,” said Executive Director Jeremy Tobias. “The lack of a state budget and the disruption of funding have left us no choice but to suspend these services.”
Mount Diablo Community Child Care Advocates in Concord (Contra Costa County) closed September 1 because of the state financial crisis. This affects 151 children and their families at Baldwin Park Center and Holbrook Center.
“We have used the money from our reserve account and we were not approved for a line of credit,” said Executive Director Irene Chan. “We informed our employees and parents that August 31, 2010 was the last day for the agency to operate. Our closing is affecting many families who have lost their child care.”
Golden State YMCA in Visalia (Tulare County) will close down its child care centers on September 13, affecting 453 children from 254 families, and the layoff of 100 employees.
“As are most organizations, the YMCA is in dire straits,” said Child Development Program Director Rosemary Caso. “We have exhausted our cash reserves, line of credit and bank loans as well as a personal loan. We are looking to shut down our child care centers because we have yet to see any funds.”
About 230,000 children are currently being served in 4,000 centers across the state. Also, about 120,000 children are currently receiving state-subsidized services from private providers, such as family child care homes.
The CDE has no legislative authority to pay early-care and education programs until the 2010-11 state budget is enacted. Although agencies with CDE contracts are encouraged to have a reserve, it is difficult for agencies to manage the fiscal burden of operating a program over an extended period of time with no income to cover costs.
For information on child care and development programs in California, please visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/op/cdprograms.asp.