Speaker of the Assembly announces temporary childcare for the working poor

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Speaker of the Assembly John A. Perez showed up at downtown Los Angeles Tuesday with, for many, a very welcome announcement. Despite Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger having used his line-item veto to cut all daycare for children of the working poor, the Assembly had managed to find the funds to keep such programs going.

But there was a catch. The $6 million the Assembly was able to squeeze out of its operating budget, by reducing expenses down to 15 percent, will only last through the holiday season.

One parent spoke movingly of her worries about finding daycare for her child. In tears as she tried to catch her breath, she said she was no longer on welfare, and she was grateful to be able to work. She blessed the CalWORKS program for having made it possible.

Holly Mitchell is the Democratic nominee for the state Assembly in the 47th District. She is also president of the Crystal Stairs Foundation, a major provider of childcare and early childhood intervention. She had to notify 6,600 parents that their children would no longer be subsidized.

Perez’s announcement was welcome news.

“It’s had a major impact on us,” Mitchell said. She also noted that, even if further finding does not come, at least she will be able to give her family a better heads-up. In the past, she had less than two weeks notice.

Thousands of children, and thousands of providers, have respite from the worry, but only until after the holidays.