In an effort to arrive at a balanced budget before the deadline, California lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown arrived at a tentative deal that includes cuts to state-subsidized child care, the Los Angeles Times reports.
How significant are the cuts to subsidized child care spending?
The revised budget calls for an 8.7 percent cut to subsidized child care.
Why does California subsidize child care?
The California budget notes that subsidized child care benefits low-incomes families who are employed.
What are the detailed cuts as currently proposed?
An estimated 29,600 child care slots will be eliminated. On the other side of the equation, the budget intends to add 15,500 part-time preschool slots earmarked for children from low-income families.
How many low-income families need child care in California?
Child Care Aware of America released its 2012 figures and notes that about 1,723,095 children under age six are in possible need of child care. An estimated 698,216 families live in poverty.
How many available slots are there for children?
Approximately 11,048 child care centers and 36,559 family child care homes meet the state's needs. This adds up to a total of 1,067,713 available slots. The majority of requests, 77 percent, are for full-time child care.
What does it cost to enroll a child in a care program?
It costs an average of $11,276 per year to pay for full time care of an infant in a California child care center. In a family care home, the same service costs about $6,855 per year. For a child aged four, the cost is $7,856 at a center or $6,596 at a family child care home.
How many families does the state subsidize?
The State of California subsidizes child care expenses for an average 73,000 families per month.
Does the state's legislative analyst agree with the governor that the cuts to child care are suitable to meet the goal of balancing the budget?
The May report by the Legislative Analyst's Office notes the requirement for working parents to put in at least 30 hours per week will eliminate previously eligible families from the program. The revised budget further removes 21,000 available child care slots. The analyst warns the "magnitude of rate cut would severely restrict families' access to child care providers." Savings estimates are unlikely to materialize as planned, in part, because implementation of the cuts will be delayed. Since it is unclear how many child care providers will agree to continue accepting clients under reduced standard reimbursement rates, the effectiveness of the cuts -- and the mission to aid employed low-income families -- is potentially compromised.
What other options are there for saving money on subsidized child care?
The Legislative Analyst proposes to raise the fees parents currently pay for child care. In addition, the child care services should be offered under a time limit.
Sylvia Cochran is a Los Angeles area resident with a firm finger on the pulse of California politics. Talk radio junkie, community volunteer and politically independent, she scrutinizes the good and the bad from both sides of the political aisle.
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