There’s only two weeks standing between now and a potential budget cut that could pull the rug out from underneath working families across our state.
State legislators are working quickly to pass a Supplemental budget in order to cut costs in this fiscal year, ending in June. While their pens are poised, they need to feel a groundswell of people pushing back against devastating cuts to Working Connections Child Care.
Working Connections currently helps working parents stay at work, moving to self-sufficiency, even when their wages are too low to pay the full cost of child care.
Unless the legislature intervenes, the state will limit new entrants to the program only to families whose incomes are below the poverty line.
The state’s change would deny service to an estimated 1,600 families every month. The agency already cut 6,000 families off the program late last year.
Creating a work to welfare program is not the right direction for our state. We know that Working Connections Child Care is a key strategy for diverting people from needing greater assistance. The pending change would render families ineligible regardless of income if they’ve managed to save up small amounts for retirement or college, or in some cases, even if they own a car. With this cut, the state would be sending a clear message to parents trying to stay at work in a terrible economy: You may as well be on public assistance.
Parents, child care providers, and businesspeople all testified or provided input in legislative hearings on Thursday to make the case for why the legislature needs to take action before thousands of families lose this critical support. They need more backup. Last Thursday, Children’s Alliance launched an alert asking people to share their stories and urge legislators to protect child care. This is the first test of the legislative session on Working Connections and time is running short. It’s time to add your voice and urge others to join you. Take action here.