Day Care Providers, Families Protest For Funding

Stage 3 Day Care Funding Remains A Hot Topic

Local day care providers joined hundreds of other protesters in Long Beach over the governor's budget plan.

Two weeks ago, some local day care providers contacted 23 ABC furious over the governor’s line item veto that will take away day care funding for California’s working class families on Nov. 1.

Tuesday many of those day care providers joined hundreds of others from across California, to make their voices heard at the Long Beach Convention Center. Their platform was a woman's conference hosted by California first lady Maria Shriver and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Those protesters want their voice’s heard over the governors line item veto that will cancel CalWORKs Stage 3 child day care funding.

Organizers said the program was developed 12 years ago to help working-poor families that are former recipients of aid or are transitioning off of aid by providing child care services so the parents could go to work.

"We are here to remind the governor that there are better ways to balance the budget without balancing it on the backs of working class families," said Sydney Kamlager, child care advocate.

Protesters held signs and banners while chanting for change. They shouted the message, "Child care keeps California working."

"We are here to show unity and to show our governor or the future governor, Jerry Brown, that we are not going to give up on our children or on their child care," said Amber Rhoades, a child care provider.

Rhoades and about a dozen others from Kern County left Bakersfield at 4:30 a.m. to join the protesters in Long Beach.

Other protesters held umbrellas and wore rain coats, not because it was a rainy day but because they said Schwarzenegger put their funds into a rainy day account and took it away from families.

"For us, it has been raining ever since he took our funds away with his blue pen and we are fighting to get it back," said Kamlager.

"We will fight until the very end. We want our funding restored for our children and we will do whatever it takes," said Rhoades.

According to the State Department of Education, the CalWORKs Stage 3 program provided child care services to more than 81,000 children and some 60,000 families during fiscal year 2008-09.

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