Across the nation state legislatures and governors are working on spending bills for the upcoming 2012 fiscal year. The Center for Budget Policy Priorities characterizes the landscape as such: “All of the 48 states releasing initial budget proposals for fiscal year 2012 (which begins July 1 in most states) have done so, and for the fourth year in a row, these budgets propose deep cuts in education, health care, and other important public services—in many cases, deeper than previous cuts. These cuts will delay the nation’s economic recovery and undermine efforts to create jobs.”
With the possible exception of Wyoming, many states are including child care—including school age child care and/or afterschool funding—among the programs slotted for cuts in upcoming budget proposals. The combination of less state support, tight budgets at the local level, and a climate of spending cuts at the federal level is a potentially devastating combination for children and parents who rely on afterschool programs.
Participation in afterschool programs leads to improved academic outcomes, keeps kids safe, reduces youth crime and helps working families with parents don’t get home till after 5 or 6. Therefore when afterschool funding and support is cut the impact is felt threefold. State afterschool networks, child care advocates and a host of others are working to raise awareness on these issues and advocate on behalf of the families and children that depend on afterschool programs and child care providers. Below is a non-comprehensive snapshot of the situation in the states:
Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing cutting $750 million from child care programs, in part by reducing subsidies by 35 percent and requiring recipients to have incomes less than 60 percent of the state's median income (down from 75 percent of the median income today). The governor’s proposal would reduce the number of subsidized child care slots by about 9,900, or 3 percent. The reduction includes approximately $120 million in cuts to school-age programs. Subsidies were eliminated for over 22,000 school-aged children, including all 11- and 12-year-olds (except for those who need care during non-traditional hours). The primary source of state afterschool funding is a result of Proposition 49. To date, Proposition 49 has remained intact throughout the budget process and budget trailer bill language prioritizes these displaced older youth for enrollment in an ASES and 21st CCLC program or for its wait list if a program is at full capacity.
Gov. Nathan Deal is proposing funding subsidized child care at a level that would reduce the number of children served monthly by as many as 10,000 and create a waiting list of up to 4,000 children.
Gov. Rick Snyder is proposing reducing the lifetime limit on cash assistance for poor families from 60 months to 48 months and to eliminate before- and afterschool programs.
The recently passed HB-2 (New Mexico’s state budget for the coming year) contains language that could seriously shortchange afterschool programs for low-income families and children. The bill is now on the governor’s desk and efforts are underway to advocate for a veto of this language before she signs the bill. The language is question would prohibit some children 11 years and older from low-income families from receiving afterschool care.
After facing devastating state budget reductions last year, Gov. Chris Christie’s current budget proposal, submitted to the legislature earlier this year, eliminates all support of New Jersey After 3 for the 2011-2012 school year. This elimination of New Jersey After 3’s afterschool programs delivers a devastating blow to 5,000 students and their families, who rely on these programs to keep kids safe, improve student achievement and support working parents. New Jersey After 3 is a statewide nonprofit organization that expands learning time in public schools each day through evidence-based afterschool programs. The first public/private partnership of its kind, New Jersey After 3 partners with community-based organizations (e.g., Boys & Girls Clubs, cultural centers) to serve thousands of children.
Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos announced an agreement on the FY2012 New York State budget. Among the effected programs:
- Advantage After School – $17.7 million total for FY12 (a cut from $22.2 million in FY11)
- Summer Youth Employment – $15.5 million total for FY12 (same as FY11)
- Extended School Day/School Violence Prevention – $24.3 million total for FY12 (same as FY11)
Gov. John Kasich would cut aid to local governments and libraries by more than $1 billion over the coming two-year budget cycle. He would also reduce the income limit for working parents to be eligible for help to pay for child care: to 125 percent of the poverty line from 150 percent. That means that a working mother with one child and income of about $18,400 would not be eligible. Gov. Kasich would also cut by 7 percent payment rates for businesses that provide child care to low-income families and deeply cut funding for public defenders and a number of other state services.
Gov. Scott Walker is proposing to cut funding for the state’s child care program by charging working families more for child care, reducing the income limit for accessing financial assistance for child care and cutting the amount that some child care providers are reimbursed.