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GUEST OPINION: State budget plan puts kids at risk

Dr. Urmila Shende

Drs. Urmila Shende and Ari Hauptman are members of the Community Child Care Council board of directors.

As busy pediatricians, we see the value in and need for quality child care and preschool as essential in providing the foundation for success in school for our children.

Early childhood education eventually leads to school achievement, improved graduation rates and future employment, helping provide stability and prosperity for our community.

The Community Child Care Council, better known as the 4Cs, has been a resource in Sonoma County since 1972, supporting parents, child care providers, local businesses and the community at large.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s May budget revision proposes to eliminate the state’s child care infrastructure, which will drastically

Dr. Ari Hauptman

impact Sonoma County and California’s children, families and economy as well as our community’s future stability and prosperity.

Below are data that relate to 4Cs, the services we provide to the community and the numbers of jobs that will be lost, small businesses that will be dramatically impacted, children who will lose quality preschool and child care and working parents who may lose jobs because they don’t have child care.

The governor’s budget proposal:

• Eliminates nearly 1,300 subsidized child-care slots for children from birth through age 12. These children are from low-income families where parents are working or in job-training programs.

• Jeopardizes the employment of more than 600 families working toward self-sufficiency.

• Eliminates more than $5 million in income to small child-care businesses and the economy of Sonoma County. This amount represents the child-care payments to licensed centers and family child-care providers.

• Eliminates the 4Cs Child Care Resource & Referral Program, including more than 100 provider trainings per year, more than 3,000 free child care referrals for families of all income levels, data and statistics of the Sonoma County early childhood education field.

• Eliminates the Centralized Eligibility List, where low-income families who are in need of child care wait for an slot to come available. The current waiting list contains more than 2,800 families who would never have a chance to be served based on these eliminations.

This data only reflects 4Cs. They do not include the additional losses of similar local service agencies.

Please help. Contact the governor and let him know you disagree with these proposals. Contact your representatives in the state Senate and Assembly and ask them to reject the governor’s budget proposals. Check the 4Cs website at www.sonoma4cs.org for updated news on the budget process and advocacy efforts.

6 Responses to “GUEST OPINION: State budget plan puts kids at risk”

  1. Melita Love says:

    Quality child care and early education benefits us all as a society. Our children are our future; if we invest in them today they will be more productive citizens …more likely to graduate from high school and to have greater earnings potential, less likely to need special education and child welfare services. It is one of the best investments we can make in our own future.

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  2. Chiara Bacigalupa says:

    Child care providers subsidize the costs of child care by working for ridiculously low wages (on average, a child care provider makes less than the person who does your nails–and she doesn’t get any benefits either). But even with this unofficial subsidy, most working parents cannot afford to pay the costs of quality child care. Yet, society benefits from quality child care by keeping families working and by providing children with early experiences that research has shown to be correlated with success in school and throughout life. Thus, everyone benefits from the services that 4C’s provide.

    How can we pay for a program such as this one? How can we not? The most conservative estimates say that every dollar spent on ensuring quality child care yields $4 of savings by reducing the need for social services later. Most economists place the savings closer to $11. California certainly has the resources to invest in its children–we just haven’t enacted a fair, or smart, funding system.

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  3. Carol Simmons says:

    Subsidized child care services in Sonoma County support over 2000 families to be able to work, as well as preparing children to be our future workforce. The child care industry in Sonoma County directly provides over 2,400 jobs and indirectly supports another 4,438 jobs in other industries. Each dollar spent on child care generates at least $7 in the economy. Invest in our children, invest in our future!

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  4. Donna Roper says:

    If you haven’t had to purchase child care recently, you may not realize how helpful it is to have your child care subsidized by the government. Without the subsidy, parents cannot work and if they are not working, they cannot support their families, pay taxes or buy from local stores. Childcare Keeps California Working!

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  5. Zuma says:

    Is this organization checking the citizenship of the parents of the children in their care?

    How about our public schools?

    If the legislature would stop sprending on education the children of illegals (who are also illegal) just perhaps we would have funds for American kids!

    The 14th Amendment was never intended to give American citizenship to illegals or their children.

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  6. L Cramer says:

    No doubt, some kids will be hurt by these cutbacks. Still, this criticism offers no solution. What would the authors cut instead? What taxes would they raise?

    And how about acknowledging the core reason why kids today are at greater risk: bad choices adults make about when to have a baby. Perish the thought that financial stability, even marriage, precede the blessed event.

    Unfortunately, the act of charity to children living in bad situations often encourages more of the very behavior that caused the bad situation.

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