Update on Child Care Funding in California
Hopefully you all have been following the child care funding situation in California. If you haven't, please take a moment to read Mary Ignatius' recent post, reporting on the devastating impact of the Governor's line-item veto. Last week, Mary, who is the Statewide Organizer for Parent Voices, reached out to us with some promising news. Here's what she had to say:
Yesterday we were in the Capitol with the child care advocacy community and invited legislators to read the names of children from their county who will be impacted by the Stage 3 child care cuts. We got word that outgoing Governor Schwarzenegger was holding a press conference at 3pm on the other side of the Capitol. 20 mothers with some children in tow headed over to the press conference 10 minutes prior to it starting. When we arrived we saw multiple news cameras set up, the podium, the traditional American and California flags, all set up and ready to go, just waiting for the Governor. Within 5 minutes of our arrival, we saw the Governor’s staff approach the media and explain they were having a “last minute change” to the program and taking the press conference inside the Governor’s private press area in his office. Did low-income mothers with strollers and toddlers, at risk of losing their jobs, really wield that much power to intimidate our action hero governor? We like to think so!
So all the media grabbed their cameras and we went back inside the Capitol. The media had to show their press credentials in order to enter. We decided we would wait outside in case the press wanted a “community response” to whatever he was speaking about. After 5 minutes of waiting, low and behold, Governor-elect Jerry Brown was walking past us. The mothers began clapping and cheering and I handed him an envelope of 5,000+signatures of working mothers and child care providers who were at risk of losing their jobs. Before taking the package he asked “Don’t you want to give this to Schwarzenegger?” and I replied, “No because you are the one who can do something about this!” He took the package and we followed him chanting “Child Care keeps California Working!”
Our leaders were so thrilled. Most took the day off of work to be in the Capitol believing that sacrifice would be worth it. We didn’t know how the day was going to turn out but because these mothers, determined they just couldn’t sit back and watch their livelihoods be ripped from them, they were able to get their message out to the Governor-elect on his first day in the Capitol!.
In the meantime, the Department of Education has said that Stage 3 child care is still in effect until further notice! The Department of Education will be sending out a new notice at some point which will have further clarification of the judge’s ruling, So it has bought parents some more time to keep their child care. The legislature has committed to restoring the funding with a bill they will introduce on December 6th and hopefully the Governor will sign as soon as it arrives to his desk!
Thank you, Mary, for keeping us updated and for all the amazing work you are doing on the ground! The Council, in its commitment to ensuring fully-informed debates and policy decisions that include issues that matter most to women and girls, will continue to share the latest news and developments with its network.