State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell announced the California Department of Education (CDE) is directing its child care contractors to notify working poor families that child care services under the CalWORKS Stage 3 program will be extended to at least November 5, as ordered today by the Superior Court of California in Alameda County.
Because of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s veto of this funding, Stage 3 child care services were supposed to end on October 31. That action was challenged in the court case Parent Voices Oakland, et al. vs. Jack O’Connell, et al.
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“The children of working poor parents will continue to receive child care services through next Friday,” said O’Connell. “Regardless of the legal outcome of this case, the Governor’s cruel and heartless veto has caused tremendous pain and uncertainty for working families who are struggling to make ends meet. I remain committed to working with the Legislature and the child care community to find funding that will provide both a short- and long-term solution to this crisis that puts the needs of children first.”
In a ruling today, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Wynne Carvill directed the CDE to notify its child care contractors of the extension of CalWORKS Stage 3 child care services to November 5. A hearing has been set for November 4 in the same court, at which time the judge is expected to consider whether the Governor’s veto eliminating all CalWORKS Stage 3 services to struggling parents and their children can be legally implemented.
O’Connell has strongly criticized the Governor for vetoing funding for the CalWORKS Stage 3 program, because it essentially forces working poor parents to make the difficult choice between obtaining safe, quality child care and work.
O’Connell has also chastised the Governor and his staff for telling panicked families who will lose child care services at the end of this month that there are plenty of other state-funded child care programs available. In fact, more than 187,000 children are already on long waiting lists for child care services. The Governor’s veto added 54,000 more names to the waiting list — a nearly 30 percent increase. Each month, an additional 1,500 names will be added to the list of those children who would have moved from Stage 2 into Stage 3. Under CalWORKS, a family usually progresses from Stage 1 to Stage 3 as their employment situation stabilizes and working parents need help to cover the prohibitively high cost of child care in order to go to work and remain off public aid.