Amparo Moreno cares for 8 children in her home, almost half of them with special needs and five of them eligible for subsidized care.
Moreno's families are lucky. She used to work at a school for special needs adults and is passionate about helping children with behavioral issues master the social and self-care skills that let them attend school and become independent. "The child with special needs is the most loving person in the whole world," she said.
When the family of one of her special needs children temporarily lost their subsidy, Moreno ran into difficulties. She was able to keep the children in care, though her payments were delayed and she was uncertain that she'd get paid at all. She worried that she wouldn't be able to make her mortgage or continue paying the assistants that make it possible for her to offer enough quality, one-on-one time with the children.
"Our child care system is a vital piece of the economic picture in California, a crucial support for businesses and working families. But it is fragmented and dysfunctional. It forces thousands of child care providers out of business each year, and sends tens of thousands of families scrambling to find a reliable replacement, at times, putting their jobs at risk." - CA State Senator Noreen Evans
Moreno knows of other families who've lost their benefits entirely and worries that some of them are having to leave their children at home alone. "The programs don't have enough money and the parents don't have another way," she said.
Nancy Rios and Ramon Salazar know firsthand how hard it is to come up with even the $1000-1200 per month it used to cost them even for babysitting before they successfully applied for state-sponsored places in a family child care much like Moreno's.
Rios' and Salazar's provider, Leonor Fernandez, even takes their children home and puts them to bed when they both have to work nights for their jobs at a Panda Express. "We used to have to pick them up late. We get off at midnight," Salazar said, "and we'd sometimes notice that they'd get sniffles the next day from walking them out in the cold."
From the thousands of similar stories around the state, one clear picture emerges: California's working families need child care services, but are often put in difficult positions when those services continue to disappear as providers have to shut their doors.
A bill, AB 101, that would give providers a voice in the operations of the private agencies that manage care supports for families like the Rios-Salazars is sitting on Governor Brown's desk right now and California's working families are counting on him to sign it.
Please call Governor Brown today, at (916) 445-2841, and ask him to sign AB 101.