August 17, 2010; Source: California Watch | A delay in California’s state budget is creating financial problems that are causing child care providers all over the state to lay off staff and even to close.

The child care infrastructure in California was threatened with a near shutdown last May when Governor Schwarzenegger proposed to cut $1.2 billion worth of subsidies for need-based care. This would have eliminated subsidized child care for 142,000 children. It was only a push back by the state legislature resulted in the money being restored.

Here is an account of what is happening in Alameda County:  “In Hayward [Unified School District], programs have already shut down due to action taken by the School Board in May to pink slip 75 child care staff (not only jeopardizing the jobs of families relying on the child care services the district provides, but adding its own staff to the growing numbers of unemployed.) Eight Oakland Unified School District child care centers are closing doors after July 30, 2010. In Berkeley and neighboring districts, programs will close as of August 31, 2010. For Alameda County school districts, this adds up to more than 600 preschool teachers and child care staff losing their jobs, and over 1,500 preschool children and 1,700 school age children losing programs and child care.”

Advocates say that many child care providers are maintaining operations through the use of loans but some, like home based providers, can not get them. This same problem happened last year in Pennsylvania and decimated that community of nonprofits. A report was issued by the United Way a few months ago, detailing the effects of the delayed Pennsylvania budget on nonprofits.—Ruth McCambridge