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Child Care Champions Contest Crippling Cuts

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February 20, 2009

Phoenix, AZ – Scores of children’s advocates converged on the State Capitol Thursday protesting budget cuts impacting child care for 20,000 children. The cuts are slated to take effect March 1.

Single parent Misty Bertone says she can’t afford the full rate of $250 a week on what she makes.

"I do without a lot already. I provide for my children. I don’t really have any extra things in my life. I don’t have a cellphone. I don’t have cable. So, there’s nothing I can really get rid of to help me to pay for the child care."

Bertone pays a subsidized rate of $50 per week. Ironically, she says losing subsidized child care would mean she would need even more financial help from the state.

"I don’t have family that I can fall back on to help me take care of my children during the day. So, I eventually have to lose my job, practically, to take care of my children."

Arizona Child Care Association Director Bruce Liggett says funding cuts for child care are shortsighted on every level.

"They’re bad for children in terms of getting children ready to be successful in school; they’re bad for parents who rely on child care to work; they’re bad for the broader economy. Child care is a key part of our infrastructure that’ll be damaged with these cuts."

Liggett and other advocates are urging lawmakers to swiftly take advantage of federal stimulus funding to preserve child care subsidies.

"As of today, 50 million dollars is available to the state. The governor and legislature could act immediately and draw down those funds and prevent these cuts from taking place."

Advocates are hoping the state uses money from the federal economic stimulus package to reverse the child care cuts, which were made by lawmakers to help close this year's $1.6-billion budget deficit.


Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ