California’s child care cuts, explained

Preschool. Photo by Laura A. Oda/StaffIn California, more than a half million children take part in a publicly funded child care program while their parents work or go to school.

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.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Nextset

    It’s a policy question of course. The taxpayers have no moral obligation to provide child care, health care, housing or any other support for children not in the custody of the state. It’s just that simple. If people choose to produce children and raise them they are responsible for providing or not providing all these things.

    If fact, there is a large moral hazard in providing support for children who remain in the custody of their families because you will have disconnected economics from behavior. The families can permit the child (and themselves) to wear loud clothes, have bad manners, be undisciplined and anti-social where normal people cannot behave so badly and retain their homes, jobs and hondas.

    The welfare state is the primary reason why typical Ghetto Blacks are unsocialized and having increasing difficulty assimilating into mainstream (ie holding employment, supporting a family and staying out of jail).

    We need to destroy the welfare state. If the Tea Party comes to power that’s going to happen. The first event is the hijacking of the Republican Party followed by the crossover of the Independent Voters. Watch the November 2010 election results. Then 2012 to follow.

    Gov. Schwartzenegger is a moderate, a RINO. If he found it necessary to adopt these policies the CA state economics must be dire indeed. He wouldn’t have done this unless his hand was forced, because he is a RINO. The real policy changes in the welfare state are coming later and they will be severe. States can’t print money. They will cut social programs. The feds may try to backfill them using printing press money. The real question is how long the feds can or will do so. My bet is not much longer.

    We are going to see Calcutta level poverty in this nation. Count on it. You can’t destroy your industrial & manufacturing base and import millions of highly fertile 3rd worlders into this nation without debasing your standards of living.

    I take no pleasure in making these statements – people need to wake up and realize where the bus has taken them. It’s not going to just be the child care that goes bye-bye, and the changes will come soon.

    Like all the one time fixes in the CA budget – the Fed is within sight of losing control of the national economy. You can’t keep interest rates this low this long without consequences. They are running out of measures. You will see (deliberate) inflation, and you will see wage and price controls (they’re doing that already covertly). We know from history what happens when these are attempted, which is why they are only used in desperation. The results are rapid decline in standards of living.

    It’s not going to just be child care that is cut.

  • JR

    I am shocked, but I agree with your assessment 100%. We have brought this on ourselves by government policy measures disguised as compassion. We have encouraged irresponsibility and now it has become a lifestyle and has multiplied out of control, and we must stop welfare,section 8, and all such entitlements or we face economic destruction.

  • Cranky Teacher

    Welfare, section 8 and all such entitlements are a TINY portion of what our government spends in this country. Welfare rolls were chopped in half by Clinton’s welfare “reform.” Excluding giants like Social Security and Medicare (unique, off-budget beasts with special forms of quasi-taxation), public education is the only social program which has any significant effect on national and state budgets.

    Nevertheless, the right has been attacking them relentlessly since the ’70s as a “dog whistle” red herring to appeal to white, elderly voters.

  • John

    Hey Guys,

    Maybe you guys are one of those rich people who do the budget right and raised a good healthy kid, which is great. Maybe you dont have to work hard coz you have your parents who had worked for you.

    Think about how many kids wont have child care?? Do you think its the childs fault why he was born??

    Think of how may parents will stress out and leave work, means dont have money to pay rent, means dont have money to send kids to school.

    Poverty then crime then country in risk ….

    Governor should think with his heart !!

  • Nextset

    Cranky: Even if the Welfare spending is relatively small – which is not the case in the state, city and county budgets in CA as opposed to New England – the effect on behavior in the Urban areas is massive.

    So we need to seriously cut the welfare state and let a lot of people starve, sicken and die. The crackheads I walk past on the way into the courthouse need to go and it’s wrong to keep them alive by taxpayer money taken at the point of a gun. It’s wrong to ever say they should get the same healthcare as normal people. it’s wrong to pour blood transfusions into a morbid alcoholic with no money who is bleeding out. I could go on but I think I’ve expressed myself well enough.

    The reason we have problems with bad behavior is that as a matter of policy we have removed the consequences for that behavior. Both in the schools and in the streets.

    Back to the thread. Child care is no business of the federal, state or local government. That is the business of the parents. If parents cannot or will not parent for any reason at all the child needs to be taken away for the duration of the minority and contact with the bio parents severed. Other family should be allowed to accomplish this. Currently we make it very difficult for even family members to rescure a child relative from unfit parents. That should change.

    State sponsored subsidies so that parents don’t have to astruggle to provide for and thus be allowed to keep their children does not lead to improvement in parental behavior. It is a moral hazard that makes the behavior worse.

    And the governor’s duty is not to “take care” of kids, it’s to take care of the economic viability of the state and to see to the continued operation of essential state functions. Welfare is no essential state function. California has an excessive percentage of welfare recipients because of state excesses. As a result wehave degraded our industry and tax base. Time to reverse that. Because if we don’t the state will be forced to sell off all the state assets and shut down core state services.

    Just like we are being forced to sell state buildings we can also be forced to sell state bridges and roads. And the University of CA is not an essential service either. That can go to if the budget continues to collapse. We have a lot more to lose and we will see these things on the chopping block if we don’t change things.

  • JR

    The negative effect of welfare, and especially section 8 is massive. Of the national total of people on public assistance and other entitlements, California bears the burden of a full 25% of that. The bigger incalculable burden is the effect on local neighborhhoods such as Antioch and that city is being devastated.


  • OaklandNeighbor

    It makes me angry to see all those welfare and section 8 ppl spending money every 1st of the month.I think the GOVERNMENT should have better control on what the money is spent on. Many ppl who receive welfare not always use it for the children they apply for, if that were the case we wouldn’t have so many ppl living in hotel’s, motel’s getting high and purchasing alcoholic beverages…they receive money for food (EBT card) and what’s worst they exchange it for cash, example: $200 worth in the EBT card for $75 or even $50. The WIC that is received is also sold I have seen it happen. Then for some reason this ppl continue having children and the government continues paying them. The government is making it easier for them its like they are getting paid to have kids. I just don’t think its right for hard working ppl to be paying for the irresponsibles to continue, not only that but the illegal ppl are getting a share of it to “WTF” who will put a stop to this b***s**t?

  • JR

    Oakland Neighbor,
    There is a lot of fraud going on, on top of the crime. All this amid shouts of “they are violating our civil rights”. The teachers are asking us to blame poverty,homelessness,crime for the horrid school system rather than the teachers alone, but they want the poor taken care of and this is what happens. The Genesis for these problems is the welfare system which locks the irresponsible people into multi-generational government dependency, and its a vicious cycle that taxpayers must deal with in both a personal and financial way.



  • harold

    @ J.R., you wrote: “The teachers are asking us to blame poverty,homelessness,crime for the horrid school system rather than the teachers alone, but they want the poor taken care of and this is what happens.”

    So, because some Teachers believe we should have a (social safety net), they somehow are responsible for the welfare state and the dysfunction that is part of it? And we should end the tenure system because of that?

    Can you clarify your point?

  • JR

    Welfare rolls were chopped in half by Clinton’s welfare “reform.” The not so obvious larger “costs”(prison,drug use,crime, drop-out rate) have multiplied with the increases of welfare children having more welfare children. In reality nothing has been chopped, but our problem is much worse,and its growing.

  • Katy Murphy

    While publicly funded child care for families is obviously a state subsidy, the families benefiting from CalWORKs programs are moving — or have moved — off welfare. I believe the other state-funded child care programs also require parents to be working or going to school.

    Do you not think it’s a worthwhile investment?

  • JR

    Gladly! The teachers insist that the problem is not poor teachers, but poor students, who come to school ill fed. Students that don’t much if any stability in their lives. Teachers insist it’s poor parents whose parental support is lacking or non existent which results in an unruly and hard to teach child. These two big government systems (The education system and the welfare system)have much in common, both started with noble goals but have since been corrupted by and for money and power. The point is you want the taxpayers(who have been subjected to a system that was intended as a temporary safety net,but has morphed into a multi-generational criminal habit enabler)to also tolerate a system whereby “for all intents and purposes” people who are supposed to be professional are LOCKED into their job, and yet there is absolutely NO incentive(like fear of job loss or replacement)to keep on performing at or near the top. Yeah, that’s really been working out well for us for decades now.

  • JR

    I think we have just reached the point of diminishing returns(actually for more than a decade now), more children having children with very few moms who are earnestly trying to take advantage of programs to better their lives. These people become invested in the lifestyle of no work, but (here’s a check for the children). There is no incentive here so why does anyone expect a different outcome? There are a few positive stories here and there but most of it goes down the drain.

  • Sarah333

    JR said: “there are a few positive stories here and there..” My daughter is one of those positive stories which proved that Stage 3 did succeed. She is single w/ 4 kids, two who need before and after school care so she can work full time to support them. The other two 14 and 12 are home alone after school till mom and the two little ones come home. Without subsidized child care she will have to pay $300 a week to be able to continue working. She will have to quit work because she cannot to pay the full price for care. So now what? some people on this blog need to know that there are hard working honest mothers out there who are not taking advantace of the system, and are being helped by the system. They are not all welfare trash, criminals and low lifes. Some just need help to rise up from a bad situation. The state should cut spending on useless “green” projects, and saving the freakin’ whales, for G sakes!

  • JR

    I am glad that it working out for you, but the numbers are against us. Welfare is supposed to be temporary help, but instead it becomes a way of life, and dependence. The societal breakdown, dissolution of the family unit, the free sex(which turns out to be not so free). There is a price to pay for all this abuse of freedom and lack of responsibility, and we are paying for it now. It is not the states responsibility to take care of me, that falls into my lap. I want you to remember my favorite quote(even though I can’t stand the guy that said it)it is so true ” Government that is big enough to do everything “FOR” you is big enough to do everything “TO” you. Remember that! I am married and have two kids and my spouse and I work as a unit, and even then it’s tough(one reason we stopped at two kids)even under the best of circumstances life is hard, and I will never understand why some make it even harder on themselves. Sorry to sound like I lack compassion(I don’t BTW, I know what pain is believe me), but there is no going back now and we all have to do our best because we have no other choice.

  • Nextset

    Sarah333: Too bad your daughter got herself in this bad fix, a single mother with 4 kids & no money. Most women never let that happen to them.

    However there is no reason for a cent of public funds to be used to support her or her resident children. And there is a big reason – moral hazard – not to allow public funds to be spent on these women and children.

    I’d rather use the money for roads, or police staffing, or prisons. The moral hazards are not present for that spending.

    If she had children she could not afford to raise, she should never have kept (been allowed to keep) custody of them. it’s that simple.

    “Some just need help” indeed.

  • Nextset

    Sarah333: I assumed school spending, didn’t mention it. The taxpayers subsidize young families with the public (& charter) school systems and pay a lot of money to do so. That is not a constitutional mandate as far as I know, not federal constitution certainly. It’s a think the legislature has given and the legislature can take away. And that’s fine. I support public education.

    Nothing personal about you family – I have friends and relatives on public assistance myself. My point is that that assistance is not a right or entitlement no matter what the Great Society legislation of the ’60s said. It was given out by one Congress and can be taken away completely by another. And I support the complete and total cancellation of federal welfare entitlements leaving social welfare up to the states which are better suited to regulate parasitical lifestyles within their borders. The federal government had no constitutional power to enact welfare schemes.

    If the CA legislature wants to give money to people who can’t support themselves subject to the limits of the state constitution, great. CA is however bankrupt so adjustments are now called for.

    Brave New World.

  • working mother

    I am or as of November 1st was on stage 3 of ccrc. I work my butt off to provide for my children. luckily when times arrised and i was laid off my job and my income changed drastically ccrc helped me out greatly. i was able to find a job not paying as much as my previous employer, but it was a job. Ccrc helped me pay for my childcare. Now i get a notice today saying hey in 2 weeks we are not helping you any more. I understand we are in a budget crises, I just think Arnold could have gave parents more than a 2 week notice that funding is going to stop and i think there were other ways around just cutting off completly, could he fund 50 percent of child care for atleast 6 months before just stopping it? I kept my home from going into foreclosure during these hard times, now I feel like im about to lose everything .

  • Nextset

    Working Mother: I agree that Arnold the rest of the people in high office in Sacramento (and Washington) should make public speeches that things are about to change drastically, indicating what’s likely to come.

    They won’t do it.

    I believe the reason is that they are not in politics with the needs of the nation in mind they are looking out for number one. They are tactically better off by manipulating public opinion to get re-elected (In the case of Arnold, elected to something new?). Surfing the waves of public fortune and miss-fortune suits re-election better. And when the chickens come home to roost they will blame it on their adversaries.

    Right now the state and federal governments have very good projections of terrible things are increasingly likely to come in the next 24 to 60 months. No way are they going to be the bearer of bad news. Besides, those who count already know what’s up and are taking appropriate steps of their own.

    The whole point of the Brave New World is that the rich get richer and the poor get children, or something like that. Because of the bad times we are engendering for ourselves, certain people are increasingly taking actions which make themselves better off and a whole lot of people are just going to suffer. They will self sort. The government no longer operates in a way to promote (any) social mobility. Like they used to.

    As the cartoon strip said, “Hurt them with love!!”

  • Sarah333

    thank you all for your respectful replies. It’s refreshing to have a civilized and intelligent discussion about such a sensitive subject as single, working mothers, with dependent children. I agree with you, Nextset, that the responsibility of raising and caring for your own children falls on the parents. But please bear in mind that life isn’t always that cut and dry. Every single person affected by this budget cut has a unique circumstance and reason why they are raising children alone. To say that my daughter should have known better than to have 4 children is a mute point. She never would have had them had she known ahead of time that her deadbeat husband would desert them. I agree with you, JR, when you say “there is no going back now and we all have to do our best because we have no other choice.” My daughter will be ok, she is a fighter, and a hard working girl, and God will provide as He always has.

  • Hills Parent

    Jumping in with a comment on the thread with Nextset and Sarah333. I have to say that it seems like almost every time I read about or hear about a parent or family in distress that they have a big family. Too many kids to provide for. I don’t understand why people aren’t more responsible when it comes to parenthood. My husband and I have two children. We could actually financially support more, but have chosen to draw the line at two. We can provide emotionally, physically, financially for all aspects of the lives of our children. We have made a responsible decision for ourselves and for the community at large. Most of my friends have made similar choices and they live within their means with their small families. If you can’t afford children, don’t have them! Certainly don’t have four of them! Ok, just wanted to vent about that…

  • JR

    Hills Parent,
    You are right, when you state the problem honestly you will be called mean, cruel, heartless and without compassion. To me there is almost nothing more mean, cruel and heartless than having precious children that you cannot or will not care for.

  • Nextset

    Even my parents and their friends used sterilization when they were through having their children in the mid 20th century. They and their friends all seemed to have 4 or 5 kids, but then they surgically stopped further childbearing. Now younger people I know seem to get sterilized at 1 or 2 children.

    So I don’t have a shred of sympathy for today’s single mothers or anyone else who has 2, 3, and 4 kids and expect welfare, food stamps or any booty from the Treasury because they decided to have and keep children they can’t support. All these transfer payments should be shut off. If family planning and birth control was occurring in 1950 and is occurring even now with most working people, we need no sympathy for those few people who think they can impose on others. I grew up when being a single mother was a scandal because that meant poverty and welfare. We had much less of it because we deliberately made it uncomfortable. It should be so again.

    So if Arnold finally starts acting like a Republician I say it’s about time. And all this will impact the public schools, kids turn up in class without appropriate clothes, shoes, food & dental care. The teachers need to follow the child abuse/neglect protocols up to and including calling the police. Whatever the solutions are, they aren’t continuation of giving money to bad parents. I’d rather see the kids in state boarding homes where’d they’d learn to see their parents for what they are and vow not to be like them.

    This may sound harsh – it isn’t. The problems will largely abate themselves with the policy changes. When it’s sink or swim time, people take lessons. I grew up seeing the effects of tougher welfare policy. My Mother was a welfare worker in Oakland in the late 1940s. Remember then? People came into the East Bay like refugees from Tobacco Road. Her clients were very polite, she went into their rented rooms (they don’t do that now?) all over Oakland – never once felt any danger. They did what they could. Some people were eventually told it was time to try Los Angeles – the county expected people to use welfare for temporary relief until they got on their feet. If they didn’t improve themselves they were eventually cut off.

    This is no different. We just forgot how to do it. We used to cut people off all the time. It’s not a problem.

  • JT Girl

    I am currently on stage 3 childcare and currently work at the welfare office. I have been off of Calworks for 12 years.
    Yes, this budget cut will greatly impact my life. I will probably have to quit my job that I have been blessed with, because my children are my priority and without adequate childcare for them….what choice do I have. I will probably be on welfare again, unfortunately and eventually.
    The cuts should have been made to the SSI recipients and welfare recipients, as first hand I know all of the fraud that goes on in these programs.
    SSI monies are the same pot of monies that come from welfare, people that have not paid into the system and draw off of the state.
    This is only hurting the children and will have an even worse impact on the state than anyone can think.
    Last year or the year before Governor wanted to cut all of the children off of Healthy Families also. Why should the children and the elderly suffer by IHSS programs being drastically cut too? Why the innocent.

  • Nextset

    Jt Girl: They should “suffer” if that’s what you call it, because it is not the place of government to support them. If they need support they should support themselves or turn to charties such as the Salvation Army and submit themselves to whoever their patrons happen to be. Family perhaps.

    Government is not here to take care of people. Government is here to fix the roads and such. People are responsible for themselves and must conduct their affairs to get themselves fed. That is how behavior is disciplined. When the government interferes by taking money from the workers and giving it to non-workers, you get increasingly more bizarre behavior. Liberalism even. We’ve been doing this for 50 years and the behavior of the “poor” has become increasingly poor.

    Time to improve things. Cut off the dole. Maybe bring back the WPA work camps.

  • Catherine

    @ JT girl – I sympathize with your need to put your children first. I feel the same way about my child.

    I am ambivalent about the right to have multiple children and to have them taken care of by the government. I waited a very long time and planned my time, career and my money. In the end, my family realized we could afford only one child. I really wanted my child to have a sibling – to know that feeling of a sibling, but I realized my second child could be a different gender from the first and that would require an extra bedroom – which would have meant adding on to our home, which we cannot afford to do, or moving – which we cannot afford to do. The time to help with homework, teaching a child to read, taking children to the library, parks to walk in nature, helping clean the neighborhood and helping in food pantries and providing a spiritual life all takes time. With two adults in a family helping one child, we have to work very hard to make it all happen.

    In terms of time, we really can only afford one child. In terms of money we can only afford one child. In terms of helping our child be all it can be academically to be prepared for college, we can only afford one child.

    I don’t know how families with two parents have more than one child – our family cannot – other families can. Many single parents cannot do the job of raising more than one child on their own without assistance, some can.

    I really wish that everyone who wanted to have a child or children had to sit down and think about the consequences of being attached to the other parent of this child for the next 50 or more years. Because with every major event in that child’s life there should be two parents attending, supporting and celebrating.

    I also wish that every person who decides to have unprotected sex had to plan financially for the pregnancy and/or birth of a child or multiple children.

    I know it is very difficult to raise children. I am the product of a single mother who worked as many as three jobs at a time. I remember us being on unemployment twice. We were never on welfare or SSI. We got help from Salvation Army at Christmas and the food pantry sometimes when the money would not stretch far enough. I remember weeks where we at $3 for the food for the week – lots of noodles and broth – sometimes with green beans when we could buy the frozen boxes for 3 for a dollar.

    What I am saying is that everyone has a responsibility to plan their families carefully. Everyone must take responsibility for their choices and when the budget must be cut – just as it is in a household budget, very, very difficult choices have to be made. Just like JT will make a choice to stop working, others must make difficult choices as well. There is almost no one who is HAPPY with the choices that must be made.

  • Gordon Danning

    Let’s see. There are something like 15 million taxpayers in the state of California. $256 million is about $17 each. I imagine that the average taxpayer spends at least that much on each of the following:

    1. iTunes downloads that they listen to only once
    2. Extra fill-in-the-blank in their morning coffee
    3. Gasoline used speeding up when the light turns yellow
    4. Toothpaste left at the end of the tube

    Enough said?

  • JR

    The cost is far far more than just the money, it is about responsibility and having generations of children not being given adequate parental guidance(breakdown of society, prisons,crime etc). Irresponsible parents and their children have a negative effect on the classroom as well, which I am sure teachers know(they have said parents and students need to be more responsible). You can not have it both ways, irresponsibility and responsibility are opposites, you can not have both sides of an issue. The cost to society itself is incalculable, and I cannot believe that you don’t see that. The 256 million is for a program that isn’t doing the job it was created for, so it is essentially just money that is frittered away. To be perfectly honest every state or city employee who is paid by taxes still wants to make as much money and benefits as possible(even though the budget does not cover it, does anyone want to start taking paycuts so that we can afford these entitlement programs, I very much doubt it. So again just tell me that it is just a little more, and then you can get your union to endorse givebacks to pay for it. When that happens I’ll be happy to extend the program.

  • Gordon Danning


    1. I’m unclear on how you know that the program isn’t working.

    2. I’m also unclear why you imply that public employees should be the only one to pay for public services. I’m more than happy to pay my share of the cost of public services, and I have always voted to tax myself to do it. My broad point is that we can clearly afford it.

    3. Re: welfare and personal responsibility, surely you must admit that there is an argument on the other side – that cutting funding for child care will affect children in a manner detrimental to society. Moreover, most European countries have far more generous welfare systems than we do, and while that might be problematic in many ways, it is clear that those societies have not collapsed.

    So, given the inherent uncertainties about the affects of this policy, and the fact that we can easily afford it, why not err on the side of helping out some kids, who are of course the most vulnerable and least culpable parties at issue here?

  • Gordon Danning

    Oops typo: “effects,” not “affects.”

  • Catherine


    I generally agree with you. My problem and comments are much, much deeper than can we afford child care. I have 14 year old students (2 of them) who have fathered two children each with middle school girls. That is four children we will have to educate, four children who will need childcare, four teenage girls who have a less than 25% chance of completing high school as less than 10% of completing college (based on current statistics – before the economic downturn).

    It is the bearing of children without the realization that as a parent, you need to spend an hour or so every evening talking to them about how to prepare dinner so they know what 16 ounces looks like and what a 1/2 of ingredients is so they can learn to double the recipe later. It is going to the library and checking out the books and then reading them to your child – every day – so the child will be on track with vocabulary, language development in general and reading specifically.

    It is the ability to have enough disposable income to teach children how to delay gratification and save for the special item they want instead of using up the money at the first of the month and not having enough to end the month.

    It is about making conscious choices about maintaining contact with someone you had an initial passing fancy, because you owe it to a child you created.

    It is so much more than $17. If it were $17 I would drive it over to where it needed to be and hand it over this minute.

  • JR

    You are missing the point, the problems have been woven so deep into the fabric of our society that merely money will never fix it. There is a difference between a person whose job relies on pleasing a boss or customer every day to keep paying the bills(if they don’t do their best they will be jobless), and a person who has their check already factored by contract with no real performance mandates or risk of loss of job. It’s a whole lot different having to struggle with knowing where(or if) your paycheck is coming because you didn’t do your job well enough. The money you have can be counted on because it’s coming from the taxpayers, and everyone knows the check is in the mail because the tax money is limitless. Don’t we?

  • MR

    I find it very interesting that people don’t see that social services really aren’t for the poor but rather for the rich. Think about it. Theses service provide the bear minimum that allows for basic survival and nothing more. If society did not provided these basic services, the “have nots” would simply turn to violence and crime to take what is needed to survive(andpossibly much more) directly from the people who “have”. There are many people in this world that struggle and history shows us that when people become desperate because the basic needs for survival are not available revolt happens. So I suggest that everyone that is on their high horses here on this site think twice about what they want because if you were in a position where you had to choose between seeing your kids starve to death or or commiting crimes such as robbery and murder, what would you choose? I for one have no kids and have never been on welfare, but I’m smart enough to know that you must support the basic needs of the masses or suffer the dire consequennces of losing everything. So be like me, pay your taxes and enjoy your life and thank god that you were blessed with better circumstancec than a lot of people in this world. You are no better than anyone else, you were just lucky so stop being so judgemental.

  • Gordon Danning


    I think you miss the point, which is, given our current situation – whether it be the cusp of the apocalypse or “morning in America” — can we and should we spend 17 bucks per person to ensure child care for 60,000 of the poorest kids in the state? You say that “money alone won’t solve the problem.” Well, what problem is that? If the problem is that kids have nowhere to go when parents are working, well, money alone WILL solve the problem.

    Secondly, your reference to people “struggl[ing] with knowing where(or if) your paycheck is coming because you didn’t do your job well enough” versus public employees who supposedly have no risk of losing their jobs has 2 flaws: First, it understates the risk of public employees’ losing their jobs. See, e.g. all the teachers who were laid off last year, and also see http://talkingunion.wordpress.com/2010/10/16/why-the-persistent-high-levels-of-unemployment/ [“Some 95,000 jobs were lost in September, fueled by a loss of government employment, which declined by 159,000 jobs, and minimal hiring in the private sector, which added 64,000 jobs.”]. Secondly, it overstates the risk of job loss in the private sector. The vast majority of people who want work have work, and there are plenty of private sector workers who do a mediocre-to-poor job but who will never, ever get fired or laid off. The idea that the average person will be jobless “if they don’t do their best,” is a canard.

    Finally, stop saying “you.” Contrary to your implication that I am somehow on the public dole because “tax money is limitless,” I can count on a paycheck because I have worked hard for 15 years (will you be here tomorrow at 9 am?www.quicklyusa.com/oaklandeastca1.html? I doubt it) and because I am well educated — an attribute that I earned — it wasnt a gift. The unemployment rate for people with my level of education is about 2%. http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm. So, your argument that the reason that I am willing to spend my hard earned money on those who are less fortunate than I am is that I get money for nothing is wrong, and appears to be little more than a pathetic rationalization.

    But, I do understand that being charitable causes real physical pain to some people, so to those people, here’s a suggestion: Instead of paying $17 bucks for poor kids, just pony up $15, and then use the extra $2 for a bottle of Advil.

  • JR

    Regarding teacher layoffs, seniority was used to determine layoffs. That means the worst, most deficient teachers weren’t fired first, but only the newest by date of hire. Is that fair to the taxpayers and their children, I don’t think so. As a longtime teacher I would venture to guess that your contract gives you much more in 9 months than I earn in a whole year, as a matter of fact I am sure of it(logic dictates that if I have a mortgage, cars etc at my level of earning that you have these things as well, probably much more). As far as the implicit charge that I am somehow jealous just doesn’t wash, I am however, fed up and peeved about this situation. Have you ever read the statistics on teacher firings , a tenured teacher firing is more rare than a doctor losing his license, or a lawyer being disbarred. I have to earn my money by my own merit whereas your contract stipulates your slice of tax money which steps up every year, its just that simple. It is no canard, it’s the truth, just ask somebody you know that gets paid by the week or two. Ask a waitress, or a hair stylist or a fed-ex driver. Ask them if they get paid if they don’t do their job.

  • JR

    Let me explain “the problem” another way, welfare,workfare,AFDC,section 8 actually exacerbate the problem of poverty. Those who are irresponsible will be enabled to be more irresponsible and have children who will have their parents(or parent)as exemplars(thus more often than not the children will become irresponsible as well). this is not just a cycle, but one that increases in number and magnitude. The power that be are not doing a very good job of oversight which make these programs even harder to justify.


  • JR

    This isn’t about being judgmental, ethics morals and standards have already been established by GOD and society at large(long since tainted by the centered-ness of the sixties). There are different types of individuals who are stuck in poverty, the innocent(children,disabled), the substance abusers(drug addicts, prostitutes and pimps)the pathologic(lazy, mal-adjusted and stubborn)who have adjusted to the lifestyle because they can’t follow rules regulations or requirements. Anyone who attempts to use this recession or depression as an excuse, but hasn’t worked before the economy went sour, isn’t being honest with themselves.

  • Gordon Danning


    Re: welfare, we clearly have a basic value disagreement: Even accepting the existence of the problem you outline, I think it is wrong to put the entire onus for solving that problem on the backs of children. You have different values. Fine; there is no point in discussing it further (although you might want to question your assumption that those values were truly established by God. I dont believe that God exists, so I will leave that question to you)

    Re: the likelihood of being laid off, with all due respect to waitresses and truck drivers, do they have bachelors degrees (as all teachers do) and 15 years of experience? Your comparison is inapt; the relevant question is, how likely is it for such a person in the private sector to be laid off. Not very likely. So, again, your argument that it is easy for me to be willing to pay $17, because I dont have to worry about being laid off, doesn’t wash. PLEASE NOTE: THIS SAYS NOTHING ABOUT MY VIEWS ABOUT WHETHER IT SHOULD BE EASIER TO FIRE POOR TEACHERS; I AGREE THAT IT SHOULD BE EASIER. THIS THREAD IS NOT ABOUT THAT; IT IS ABOUT WHETHER THE STATE SHOULD CUT CHILD CARE PAYMENTS

  • JR

    Once again, I’ll fill in the blanks. The state has a specific budget with revenue coming from taxes etc, it also has expenses which at this point exceed revenue, our choices are:

    a. Raise taxes in a fragile economy, where the productive workers are being squeezed just to survive this financial meltdown(and more taxes just might send them over the breaking point).

    b. We can cut back on the scope and size of government programs and entitlements and allow our economy to heal.

    If you overtax the private sector workers who actually make this state go, then where will the revenue come from when these people are in the red or even move out of this state? This state is burdened with almost 1 of every welfare recipient in this country, and it is just unsustainable.

  • JR

    Our perspectives are different, you are secure and accordingly you see it one way, on the other hand my livelihood is in my own hands and I see the world differently. I give my best because frankly I have no other choice, and if I have not been able to get this point across, well then it wasn’t for lack of trying.

  • What about the children???

    I can’t speak for Oakland, but I can speak for Southern Cali. I am a single mother, recently divorced due to a domestic violence incident. My ex husband hides his wages so that I can only receive so much. I currently own and operate a catering business on weekends and part time, working nights as a security guard, while attending nursing school full time to improve the quality of life for my children. With the recent demolition to child care, I am forced to either become negligent and leave my children home or get on welfare and fall back into the vicious cycle!! Ok I get it that America is tired of footing the bill for inner city irresponsibility, but what about the families that are trying honestly to stay afloat amid all of the economic turmoil in America today??

  • JR

    That should read California has 1 out of every 3 welfare recipients in this country, and between the entitlements, the education system and the prison system that is the bulk of California’s budget.

    What about the children,
    As I stated before those that are truly in need should receive benefits, but there is a rather large portion of recipients who are participating in waste fraud and abuse of the system. Please remember that taxpayers must also pay for a large contingent of some well paid state workers and infrastructure to administer those benefits on top of the actual welfare benefits.

  • Catherine

    Whether we like to hear it or not, one of the things we try to do with parents in poverty and children in public schools is separate them as long as possible during the day. We do this through morning child care, free breakfast, afternoon child care, late afternoon childcare, homework clubs and so on. Why do we do this and not talk about it?

    We do it because we know that the personnel at the schools will talk to the children more than the average parent. We know that the children will not be watching TV. We know the children will be eating food (or what the district qualifies as food). We know they will get hearing and vision screenings. We know that someone will help with homework.

    However, it is very costly to provide these services – we do so, as Gordon stated, because the alternative is worse, much worse.

    We need to find a way to get parents to take parental education classes. To explain what it means to be middle class – it is not just about the income. It is about parent-teacher meetings, trips to the library, parks and museums, about spending time with people both in your culture and outside your culture, and about delaying gratification. In parenting classes we need to explain to parent how to parent in a way that increases children’s thought processes, not just gets them to behave for the moment. We need to teach about the violence in TV and video games. We need to teach parents how to teach children to be healthy through preventative medicine, not emergency rooms.

    We are spending our money separating parents from their children rather than requiring parents to learn to parent better. I believe that to have child care, parents must take a parent class (with child care at the time) twice per month. I believe that generations of poverty has removed a middle class way of thinking from a family’s knowledge base. I believe that a strong middle class is the way to create a strong society.

  • Hills Parent

    Catherine, I like what you say about parenting classes and trying to instill a different way of thinking to parents who otherwise don’t get it. I’m sure that won’t be easy, but I think change starts with asking something of the people who are receiving assistance or handouts. Classes seem like a good way to start down that long and arduous path toward righting so many of the wrongs in today’s society.

  • been there done that

    i, too, have utilized this program, have received the letters and have spent many a sleepless night. but, i did continue working, went on to pay for daycare myself. providers providing daycare, ask your parents what they can afford. i have a hard time with parents (not all) becoming so dependent on the program that they have nothing to fall back on because most if not all of it has been provided for them. a lot of these families have their children in private school daycare, why should my tax dollars go for their tuition when my children didn’t get the opportunity. the program is to help not do it all. many people i have met along the way feel it is their GOD given right to have the program do everything for them because they HAVE children but now they’re worried about not having it anymore. but they are living well, driving new (fixed up) cars, have “roommates/family” living with them and not saving one dime for a situation like this. saving is not out of the question if recipients have had help from this. i didn’t live with my nails done, hair done or new car(s). i walked many times, in the rain and heat, lived off of coupons and asked for a lot of help. placing blame on someone else when you knew this would not last forever and now forever has come to an end is not the answer.

    what do we as tax payers get to voice about when we are the ones paying for these programs to be available though our taxes. what i hear is that if we work and pay taxes, we are required to give to those who don’t or can’t. i don’t mind helping but certainly mind being taken advantage of…..

    i received my termination letter 10yr.s ago & i survived. receiving this letter is a means of opening so many more doors than it’s closing.

    PROVIDERS ASK WHAT YOUR PARENTS CAN AFFORD, this will help you as well as them. there are still programs available to you for the children you watch.

    everyone needs to become resposnible for themselves by themselves.

  • Ms. McLaughlin

    From what I’m reading here, there seem to be two disparate concerns driving these cuts. The first is about balancing the budget and reigning in taxes. The second is some puritanical agenda aimed at punishing people for making too many babies, or for having financial difficulties, or for some perceived lack of moral fiber that supposedly justifies making life difficult for them and their children.

    Hell, I’ll pay $17 just to avoid reflecting on how we’d ever stop goofy teenagers from making impulsive sexual choices. That’s about like making water flow uphill.

    But morality is sometimes in the eye of the beholder, and if we’re going to discuss “the wrong people” having babies, there’s also some room for debate about who those people might be. There are indeed Americans whose cultures and family traditions are more accepting of teen pregnancies than are other cultures, and who tend to have greater numbers of children. And these days, young people with numerous children often need help, financial or otherwise, from someone or all of us.

    But who among us ever really has all our ducks in a row? Waiting to have children until the “right time” can come with its own varieties of illogic, self-indulgence, and sharing the burden all around the village. Infertility treatment, for example, typically costs tens of thousands of dollars. How many older, “responsible” couples rely on their insurance coverage for those treatments, resulting in higher premiums for everybody, in order to have children who look like them instead of adopting perhaps an older child who would otherwise be stuck in the foster system for life? If we’re going to wave around the broad brush of Burden on Society, how many six- and seven-figure executives are chuggling subsidized Viagra at ten dollars a bottle? How many wealthy parents divorce and leave their children’s friends, neighbors, and teachers to help pick up the emotional pieces? What about the financially upstanding people who spoil their children rotten and turn them loose on the world to cause alcoholic car crashes, raid other people’s retirement accounts, or run for president and wind up playing reckless global war games that destroy a lot of other people’s kids?

    A lot of simplistic generalizations, of course. I’m not here to indict infertile couples or wealthy parents or Viagra sufferers. Merely hoping to point out the Pandora’s box that can blow open when condemnation and punishment become the driving force behind public policy.

  • Catherine

    @ Ms. McLaughlin: I am not suggesting that only middle class or upper class parents should have children. I, too, believe it opens a pandora’s box. Just as I believe if it is made too easy to have children and have others feed, house, educate care for and make sure all medical needs are taken care of without the planning to do so creates a false sense of security.

    I think that we need to have an honest discussion in our society about what it takes to raise children – not just have them, but raise them.

    In my middle school classroom, we occasionally hear conversations about how unfair it is that a particular girl now has to take care of her own baby because her mother has to work or is in job training.

    We have created many groups of citizens in the US who do not have a place at the table of the middle class. In our “helping” we have chosen to do so. The welfare system envisioned and enacted by President Kennedy was designed to be a “safety net” not the generational poverty cycle it has become. In the generational poverty class in California alone the generation has become 19 – 20 years, whereas the generation for non-poverty has moved up from 25 years to almost 30 years.

    I doubt that you work in the flat land schools of Oakland. It is there that we see the affected children. Child care costs about $17 per student, that is true. However, the average money spent at a middle class Oakland school to educate each child (including school funding, PTA and parental resources donated to classrooms) is about $6,500 per student. The average funding received in a school that has been designated as Title 1 (poverty) is nearly double at $12,000 per student. This figure does not include direct assistance to family in terms of medical care, housing, food.

    Should poor people never be allow to have children? Of course they should be allow to have children. Should I have to support the right of a woman to begin bearing children at 14 and continue on with five our six children, each by someone different who does not spend time with his child? Now we’re getting into sticky situations.

    In my own child’s school about a quarter to a third are only children, half are one of two children, very few come from families with more than three children. When I compare my middle school students nearly none are only children of both of their parents, only 5% or so have one sibling, another 25% or so have two siblings, but the vast majority have three or more siblings. That is an educational cost of nearly $50,000 per year for each family.

    In your discussion you talked about costly medical treatments – lets say that to conceive one child it cost the insurance company $100,000. That is the cost of just two of the 15 years (k-12 plus 2 years preschool) of my typical school families. The cost in terms of dollars is staggering. The cost in terms of my students not having the parental time as individual children that they crave and they need is much, much higher.

  • JR

    Ms. McLaughlin

    The bill has come due for our progressive, permissive society(passing the debt and interest on to the next generation will no longer work)we have less and less actual productive workers every year(who have to support more and more of those that don’t work). No one has all their ducks in a row, except the generationally wealthy. In case you didn’t notice, life is punitive and hard for everyone except the obscenely wealthy. You want relative morality and an acceptance of the “do as thou wilt” society, but there is no more money or patience available for that. We have people who cannot even take care of themselves having offspring(there are a few “playa’s” in our local HS who each have multiple girls pregnant)Our future looks so bright when such hard working,scholarly and civic minded individuals reproduce, doesn’t it? Nobody is perfect, but most people realize that, and learn from it. Only the ignorant make a lifestyle and habit of being irresponsible and constantly making stupid decisions one after the other “ad infinitum”. That is probably why America is getting dumbed down, our collective gene pool is being polluted by generational stupidity. Brought to you courtesy of your federal entitlements.

  • gina

    In response to Sara,

    I am in full agreement, I happen to be a single grandmother raising my 6 year old grandson while working full time. Without the child care assistance I am also looking at being forced to quit my job due to the fact that I will no longer be able to afford to work!

  • Mike Sanchez

    Stages 1&2 and AP programs are still available. Stage 3 funding is for families off welfare for 2 years & pays for childcare until the child is 13. Families that have not had welfare, but have struggled at lower incomes are not eligible. What childcare CDE funds should go to the neediest families first, a priority already defined by the CDE. The governor made the right decision cutting a program that unfairly distributed resources based solely on the fact that the family USED to have a need.

    By the way, the California Department of Education funds these programs. We do not have adequate materials for the classroom and teachers are getting increased class sizes (less attention per child for all children), and we are talking about paying for child care for 1500 families in Fresno that got OFF of welfare 2-15 years ago without looking at their income!! These families need to apply the CEL and get in line with other families. There are limited dollars and we need to prioritize.