CSAC Bulletin Article

Health and Human Services 10/22/2010

Assembly Speaker Asks First 5 Commissions to Fund Child Care Cut

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez has asked the state and local First 5 Commissions to step into the void left by Governor Schwarzenegger’s line-item veto of $256 million in Stage 3 CalWORKs child care funding. 

The Governor’s veto effectively eliminates the program on November 1. More than 81,000 children and 60,000 families will lose their child care, which may result in the loss of jobs for many of the parents, as well as the child care providers.

To bolster his request and indicate his level of commitment to the 12-year-old Stage 3 CalWORKs child care program, Speaker Pérez contributed $6 million from the Assembly operating budget toward restoring the program. In addition, the Speaker asked the state First 5 Commission on Children and Families to consider contributing up to $60 million, which would allow the program to continue until January 1. When the Legislature returns in the new year, the Speaker hopes to pass a measure to fully restore funding. 

The state First 5 Commission met on October 20, as scheduled, but has yet to convene an emergency meeting to discuss the Speaker’s request (standard Brown Act noticing requirements apply to both the state and county First 5 Commissions). 

The state and county Fist 5 Commissions have stepped into the funding voids for programs that serve children aged birth to five years in the past by contributing portions of their shares of tobacco tax revenue. In fact, First 5 Commissions have contributed $135.5 million from December 2008 to June 2010 for the state’s Healthy Families Program and Department of Developmental Services Regional Centers. In the recently signed 2010-11 budget, the state is counting on $148.2 million in First 5 funding to support the Healthy Families Program and Regional Centers (SB 870, Ducheny).

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