Following a $20 million cut to child care line items in the 2016-17 state budget, the spending plan passed earlier this spring in the House would reduce funding another $28 million. The proposed cuts would dramatically increase the waiting list for services and force families to make tough decisions on child care and possibly staying at home to take care of children. As proper child care and early childhood development have been shown to provide a solid foundation for developing social skills and life-long learning, the Chamber is asking Senate and House members to not only sustain, but consider increasing funding for child care.
Funding for child care is important for many reasons, including:
- The proposed cuts to the Child Care Services and Child Care Assistance appropriations would eliminate services for more than 10,000 children and increase the waiting list for these services to 19,000 – the highest level in the state’s history.
- This funding supports child care subsidies for low-income working families, which allow parents to work while their children are in safe and stable child care. These cuts include:
- a $10 million reduction that would negate the proposed expanded enrollment of 1,800 children on the child care waiting list;
- the further reduction of $40.2 million in state funds that would mean the elimination of 6,885 children from the current program; and
- a $12.7 million cut to the Child Care Assistance line item that provides for child care subsidies for families receiving TANF and SNAP and will potentially impact 2,018 low-income children receiving subsidies through this line item.
The Governor’s budget proposal includes a $35 million increase for child care to begin to reverse this trend. Budget negotiations continue through June and both House and Senate leaders have said they will have a budget to the Governor by June 30.