CalWORKS Stage 3 - Essential Child Care Funding

Date: November 16, 1999 
To: Board of Supervisors
Subject: CalWORKS Stage 3 - Essential Child Care Funding

Summary:
The County of San Diego has moved 38,000 families from welfare to work. And, child care is a critical component to keeping families off welfare. Because of recent budget cuts in Stage 3 child care funding, families who have recently joined the workforce could lose their child care as soon as January 2000.

Today's action will urge Governor Davis and the Legislature to reinstate the needed Stage 3 funding to ensure working families are given the opportunity to succeed.

Recommendations:
SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB:
1. Authorize the Chairwoman to send a letter to Governor Davis and the San Diego County Legislative Delegation urging them to take the necessary actions to assure continued CalWORKS, Stage 3 funding for persons scheduled to lose child care assistance because their two-years of Stage 2 aid is ending.

2. Direct the County's Sacramento Representative to advocate for flexible funding and authorize and extend subsidized child care.

Fiscal Impact:
This request will result in no additional costs or staff years.

BACKGROUND:
This Board of Supervisors has been a leader in moving families from welfare to work. When the Board developed the County's welfare reform policies, we recognized that a critical component for succeeding in moving families toward self-sufficiency is child care assistance. Child care assistance means parents can feel secure at work without worrying about providing child care.

According to current State law, funding for families transitioning from welfare to work is available for two years. At the end of two years many families continue to need help with the cost of child care. Because of recent budget cuts, continued child care assistance (Stage 3) will no longer be a possibility. Although desperately needed, assistance for families who were once part of the welfare system but have gotten jobs will not be available. Stage 3 funding for these families has been cut by $50 million statewide.

Because of the insufficient funding for Stage 3, many families will no longer receive child care beginning in January 2000. Families will begin receiving letters this month from their payment agencies advising them of the situation.

It is estimated that approximately 900 families will lose child care assistance in San Diego County during the year 2000 - for nearly 234 families this will happen in January. This could very well result in disruptions in child care and force reentry into the welfare system if employment cannot be sustained without childcare. Efforts are needed to avoid both of these negative consequences.

Adequate funding for these families and other working poor families should be a State priority. The change in funding should be gradual and based on increasing income as a result of employment. I urge your careful consideration of this critical issue, which I believe is an essential component of the CalWORKs program.

Respectfully submitted,
DIANNE JACOB
Supervisor, Second District