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Cutting Child Care Out from Under Californians

The California budget battle is continuing with no clear end in sight. To help patch a nearly $20 billion shortfall in California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed to cut $1.2 billion in child care funds, a move that would eliminate most subsidized child care for low-income families. He also proposed to terminate California’s welfare program, CalWORKs, which serves 1.4 million people, 1.1 million of whom are children. Included in the CalWORKs cuts are child care subsidies for families receiving or successfully transitioned off welfare. In total, 240,000 children would lose access to subsidized child care. While the Legislature's Joint Budget Conference Committee rejected these child care cuts, the continued uncertainty about child care funding undermines the availability and sustainability of child care as districts are forced to close their programs because the state budget remains unresolved. This paper outlines the impact these child care cuts would have on working parents, children, and the state's economy.
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