Childcare Cuts: Are We Moving Backwards
Things seem to be getting dire for California families, with many unable to send their children to subsidized childcare due to the state’s diminishing budget, as Peter S. Goodman writes in the Huffington Post.
As the article indicated, the cuts have forced hundreds of thousands of families struggle to give their children proper care. Like the Santa Rosa mother, Jenny Abundis, profiled in the article, she is forced to leave her 3-year-old daughter in the care of her sick parents while she works fulltime to pay her bills because the childcare waiting list is too long.
But, Abundis isn’t alone.
There are nearly 200,000 qualified, low-income California families waitlisted for subsidized childcare services — a direct result of the fiscal times, according to Goodman.
Parents must now make a difficult decision. Do they quit work to care for the children and rely on welfare services, or continue to work long hours and juggle multiple jobs to foot their childcare bills?
It is quite a conundrum, as children in these types of programs are more likely to be prepared for their educational careers when they spend their developmental years in a structured play environment.
With the waiting lists growing, many states have tightened eligibility requirements. According to a study by the National Women’s Law Center, 22 states have implemented waiting lists, while 37 states have been significantly less giving when it comes to this social “safety net.”
The consequences of this issue not only hurts the children’s futures, but also plague the country’s struggling workforce by forcing parents who are seeking time to further their education or technical skills to quit their jobs. Others are simply being let go from their positions for their absences from work, thus becoming more reliant on welfare programs.
The original intentions of subsidized childcare programs are seemingly lost, as more and more families and single parents need welfare assistance to scrape by. It’s an especially unfortunate outcome, since these childcare programs were meant to pull a single mother out of welfare and allow her to get back into the working world to better provide for her family.
Looks like we’re moving backwards.
Stephanie Minasian is a fellow with New America Media's Youth Education Fellowship. The fellowship is a six-month long program for youth reporters aged 16-24 on education reporting. It is sponsored by the California Education Policy Fund.