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Child Care Cuts Jeopardize Working Women's Hopes of Making Ends Meet

December 17, 2007

New York, NY - Working women may now have two strikes against them, after last week's second presidential veto of S-CHIP health coverage for kids. The veto has eclipsed a second issue crucial to working families' financial health: day care for their children. Advocates say the loss of federal support for childcare is be a major setback for working women in New York.

According to Helen Blank with the National Women's Law Center, 150,000 kids have lost childcare since 2000, with twice that number slated to lose day care support over the next two years.

"Families aren't getting the childcare help that they need. Meanwhile, mothers have had to go into the workforce to keep earnings stable in their families. And we should be paying a lot more attention to make sure that they can work, knowing their children are safe through childcare."

Congress reauthorized the "Head Start" program, but compromised on childcare in the recently vetoed Health and Human Services appropriations bill. Its funding level falls below the cost of inflation, which means more day care cuts in the future.

In New York, early child care enables 750,000 parents to work. However, Blank explains that without the guarantee of continuing childcare, single and married mothers would be unable to help make ends meet. The end result, she says, is that years of workplace access for women could be set back if they have no choice but to stay home and care for the kids.

"Even though women have gone back to work, we have really paid scant attention to childcare as a national issue. Women have been going to work just to stay even. There are resources we need, to make sure children are in safe and supportive care and education environments."

Both S-CHIP and Health and Human Services appropriations are expected to come up for override votes in January.

Robert Knight/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - NY