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Lawsuit settlement keeps day-care program alive through 2010

November 17, 2010 | 12:02 pm

Child-care advocates who had sued to stave off the elimination of a day-care program that serves nearly 60,000 low-income parents announced a settlement Wednesday to keep the program afloat through the end of the year.

Under the agreement, the state will continue to provide child-care services through Dec. 31. At the same time, parents who use the service will be notified of their right to be screened for eligibility for other state-subsidized child-care programs.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had vetoed $256 million in spending earmarked for the day-care program when he signed the state budget last month. The program serves former welfare recipients who are now working but not earning enough to afford day care.

“The settlement creates much-needed breathing room during the holidays for the families that Gov. Schwarzenegger cut off last month -– but it is a short-term measure, not a permanent fix,” Melissa Rodgers, an attorney with the Child Care Law Center, said in a statement. “There is not enough funded child care to meet the needs of all these families.”

Spokespeople for Schwarzenegger's Department of Finance and State Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, whose Department of Education administers the program, could not immediately comment.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Wynne Carvill had already delayed the cutback, which was originally scheduled to go into effect on Nov. 1, until later this month.

Democratic legislative leaders say restoring funding for the program is their top priority when Gov.-elect Jerry Brown assumes office in January.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento