But the waiting list for one of the coveted seats is 180,000 children long — and about to get longer, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.
On Nov. 1, nearly 60,000 children whose families have been off welfare for two years or more will lose their spaces.
Those children and their families are in what’s known as “Stage 3″ of CalWORKs, the welfare-to-work program. Gov. Schwarzenegger used his line-item veto powers on Friday to strike Stage 3 from the budget.
If you’re as confused about the ever-changing status of child care funding as I was this morning, you might find this document from the Legislative Analyst’s Office helpful. (Note: The funding listed combines state and federal sources.)
Or the following summary, based on my interview with Rachel Ehlers, an analyst with the LAO:
In May, Gov. Schwarzenegger proposed wiping out nearly all state subsidies for child care, a budget-balancing move that would have left roughly 175,000 children from poor families without preschool slots. The proposed cut: $1.2 billion.
On Friday morning, the state Legislature passed a budget that kept all of the 2009-10 child care funding intact.
Later in the day, Schwarzenegger took some of those funds right back out. But not all of them — just CalWORKs Stage 3. That means nearly 60,000 children will lose their slots, and their families will have to find someone else to care for their kids while they’re working (or quit their jobs). The actual cut: $256 million.
I’m still waiting on information from Oakland Unified about how many families are in that program. The district will offer child care through the end of the calendar year using other sources of funding.