Moi received this Action Alert from the Children’s Alliance:
During difficult economic times, Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) assistance is more critical for families than ever. But new eligibility limits have already cut off child care assistance to more than 6,000 families. Additional proposed changes would shrink eligibility guidelines even more.
The continuing weak economy presents immense challenges for families and government alike. Working Connections Child Care is one of the programs that is sustaining families and the struggling economy.
Instead of more cuts to who can get assistance, legislators should be responsive to the tough economic times. There are better ways to save money on child care assistance funding. One proposal is to allow families who are searching for work or have limited hours at work to use reduced hours of care without losing the assistance. This will save money without throwing parents off child care assistance or causing negative ripple effects in the economy.
Act now and urge lawmakers to protect child care funding and keep Washington families working.
Child care assistance keeps parents working. Many jobs just don’t pay enough to cover the cost of child care – which for many families is the biggest bill of the month. Working Connections Child Care provides sliding scale assistance to close the gap between wages and the cost of child care. The program works for families and for the economy.
The current proposed changes will mean that an estimated additional 1,600 families each month who would have been eligible for WCCC will be denied assistance. That’s 1,600 families each month who will be stuck on welfare or struggling to find a way to work and keep their kids safe without child care assistance. The new cuts are proposed to go into effect in about two weeks, on February 1st.
Take action and urge your lawmakers to protect child care funding.
Thank you for speaking up for kids.
P.S. Don’t miss Have a Heart for Kids Day on February 22nd. Speak up and stand strong for kids at a march, rally and lobby day in Olympia! Learn more and sign up.
This is what moi said in For Some College Students, Affordable Childcare Is An Important Key To Completing Their Education
One of the best discussions of the types of support needed by some students to complete their education is a February 19, 2010 opinion piece at the Olympia Newswire by Sarah Reyneveld, Vice-President of the University of Washington (UW) Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS), and Jono Hanks, Director of the Office of Government Relations for the Reyneveld and Hanks write about many programs, but one program that may determine whether many low-income students can go to college is the child care subsidy. In Op Ed: Governor’s Proposed Budget Imperils State Need Grants, Could Pushe College Education Out of the Reach of Reach
These cuts, together with complete elimination of other aid programs, including Child Care Matching Grants, Health Care Professionals, and Future Teacher Programs, paint a very bleak picture for current and future students of higher education.
The Child Care Matching Grants program has been a top priority of the Washington Student Association (WSA) for the past three years. While our state has been paying lip service to increasing degree production, they have cut the Child Care Matching Grant program which provides access to child care, the third highest barrier to degree production, for the neediest students.
With advocacy from students around the state, the WSA was able to secure $1.1 million for these grants in 2008 in the budget that passed the Legislature, later to be vetoed by the Governor. Sadly, the Governor’s budget entirely suspends what is left of the modest program of $75,000 statewide. If the program is suspended many student parents will never aspire to or have a change to complete their higher education degrees. UW graduate student Sachiko Armour confirms the importance of the program when he states: “To put it bluntly, if I were unable to receive the funds I currently get, I would not be able to afford childcare for my children, which would not permit me to attend school at this point in my life.”
The Washington Legislature has addressed the need for child care by college students in RCW 28B.135:
Washington accounts for student child care in higher education — Program established.
Grants — Eligibility — Grant period.
Program administration — Four-year institutions of higher education — Rules — Reports.
Program administration — Community and technical colleges — Rules — Reports.
As always, the problem is funding.
Valerie Topacio is reporting in the Crosscut article, Budgets Squeeze Child Care at Community Colleges
For Lisa Neumann, managing and directing the Center for Families at Edmonds Community College can feel like trying to breathe underwater.
The center hosts the Head Start, Family Life Education/Parent Cooperative Preschools programs, as well as the Early Childhood Education and Family Support services programs, serving as a model resource for early learning in Snohomish County.
But at the end of each budget year (one just closed June 30), the center is consistently in the red — despite cutting operations to the bone. And, in spite of an extraordinary effort by the college’s student government to support the center, Neumann fears this year and the following years will be no different if actions are not taken to help support the center’s budget.
EdCC’s Center for Families (CFF) is not alone in its struggle to stay afloat, especially as budget cuts flood every community and technical college in the state. According to the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, the overall cut to the system since the 2009-10 budget enactment totals $73.6 million. Over the last two years, the cuts have forced community and technical colleges to end or reduce many programs and services invaluable to students’ success and retention.
The state has already seen two colleges make closures. Last year, Highline Community College shut its on-site day-care program, which had served the community for 30 years, and this year, Whatcom Community College closed its Child Development Center.
State Rep. Ruth Kagi, chair of the House Early Learning and Children’s Services Committee, said, “Clearly we need to find a funding model that better supports early learning. The problem is that the reimbursement rates are just not high enough.
For a good discussion of why child care is important to students, see the journal article, Contemporary Childcare Issues Facing Colleges and Universities by Marybeth Kyle, William J. Campion, William R. Ogden; College Student Journal, Vol. 33, 1999.
In order for low-income people, particularly single mothers to have a shot at escaping poverty, they must get an education, trade or vocation. For many, affordable child care is the key determinant of whether they can advance. Alexandra Cawthorne in the 2008 report for the Center for American Progress, The Straight Facts on Women in Poverty describes the issues facing women in poverty:
Dr. Wilda may be contacted at [email protected]
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