Impact of Child Care Cuts Will Continue Long After Governor Leaves Office

The Governor’s elimination of funding for CalWORKs “Stage 3” child care will continue to affect low-income families long after he leaves office in January 2011. Ending Stage 3 effective November 1, 2010 will affect not only the 55,000 kids who are currently in the program, but also another 32,000 kids who receive “Stage 2” child care assistance and would otherwise move to Stage 3 over the next year and a half. Families may remain in Stage 2 for up to two years after leaving CalWORKs cash assistance, at which point they may transfer to Stage 3. With no Stage 3, however, those children will literally have nowhere to go. The California Department of Education estimates that more than 1,500 children will reach the two-year Stage 2 time limit this month, with a similar number of kids hitting the time limit every month thereafter. In total, 14,500 children will reach their Stage 2 time limit during the remainder of 2010-11, and another 17,700 will reach the limit between July 2011 and May 2012, the last month for which estimates are available.

In short, an estimated 87,000 children will lose their child care by mid-2012 unless the Legislature and the next Governor find a way to bring Stage 3 child care back to life.

— Scott Graves