The cut in funding for child care comes as part of a total $1 billion budget cut being made across California with schools, libraries, prisons and disabled services all being affected.
“This is not the way we’d like to run California, but we have to live within our means,” said Gov. Brown at a Capitol news conference.
The budget cuts are in response to this year’s expected state deficit of $13 billion. Many CSUF students have already felt the repercussions of these budget cuts through continued tuition hikes. However, many are unaware of the problems the budget cuts have caused for working parents.
Nearly one in five children that are currently enrolled in child care assistance programs in California will have to be dropped because the facilities will not be able to afford the staff and services needed. Child care programs are one of the most significantly cut programs in the current budget along with K-12 education, Medi-Cal health coverage and CalWORKs.
Many students at CSUF also work part or full-time to support their children. Angela Valdez, 34, a child and adolescent development major, has three children of her own and also works for Child Development Centers, a Title V company, which provides day care and after-school care for children.
“A lot of Title V companies will have to close a lot of their centers because the state doesn’t want to pay as much as they were paying,” said Valdez.
With many centers being shut down due to lack of funding, many teachers and caretakers are losing their jobs or getting their hours significantly cut.
“The teacher that raised my son from kindergarten to sixth grade, she’s now working four hours instead of full time,” Valdez said. “…That’s how they solved the problem at Orange Unified (School District), they cut every one’s hours…”
Valdez is not the only student that has been affected by these budget cuts. Many CSUF students who have children rely on child care programs to look after their children while they are in class or at work. Some of these students do not have any other form of child care available to them.
“Unlike some people, I don’t have the option to leave my child with a family member or a neighbor or somebody I can trust, I don’t really have someone like that, that stays home,” said Nadia De Troya, who works at the Women’s Center on campus and has a son of her own. “My only option is to put him in child care.”
Students on campus who do not have children of their own may also be affected. Current students majoring in child and adolescent development who are looking to get a job at a child care center may find it difficult. Many centers have to close or significantly reduce the salaries of their employees. Child care centers alone will have their caretakers’ pay reduced by 10 percent under the new budget.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Gov. Jerry Brown warns that more cuts are to be made across the board.
“If we don’t fight for funding now then it is just going to be like a domino effect. They’re going to take it away then they are just going to keep taking it and taking it,” Valdez said.
While many centers across California are suffering, the Children’s Center at CSUF is thriving. The Department of Education awarded the center with a grant of $248,353 for the coming year. The funding will be used to further train staff and provide an educational coordinator who will provide on-site training.
The center is located on campus and was started in 1971 with the help of Associated Students, Inc. The cost for CSUF students to enroll their children in the Children’s Center begins at $255 a week for infants, with the cost decreasing as the child’s age increases. There is also a waiting list for admission, with CSUF students getting priority over non-students.
For those who struggle financially, the financial aid office offers many resources for help and many more students are taking advantage of these resources.
“Going on for this academic year, yes, as well as going on the next academic year, 2012-2013 (there is an increase in students seeking financial aid),” said Lou Yang at the financial aid office.
The next state budget is expected to be revealed next year.