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First 5 San Diego Approves Child Care Bridge Loans

November 5, 2010 (San Diego, Calif.) — The First 5 Commission of San Diego will provide $2.25 million in bridge funding to maintain child care assistance for parents previously on welfare who are now working. The action comes after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed $256 million from the “welfare-to-work” Stage 3 Child Care program.

An estimated 2,829 children are enrolled in the program in San Diego County. More than one thousand are under the age of five.

The funding will take the form of loans that are to be repayed if the state legislature restores the program’s funding.

CalWORKs is designed to transition people from welfare to work. It provides temporary cash assistance to eligible families with children to move families from dependency to self-sufficiency. CalWORKs’ Stage 3 Child Care program provides monthly subsidies to keep children in supervised settings while parents are at work or attending school.

 “Child care is a critical component of the County’s welfare-to-work program because it ensures that parents hold steady employment to ultimately become self-sufficient,” said County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Chairwoman of the First 5 Commission. “The transitional funding means that parents will stay employed and off welfare,” Jacob said.

First 5 San Diego has set aside funds for targeted response to critical needs emerging from state and local economic conditions.  “We look very carefully at impacts to safety net services that support the 0-5 population in San Diego County.” said Barbara Jiménez, executive director of First 5 San Diego, “Access to quality child care is essential, especially for a single parent working toward self-sufficiency in providing for their family. Without safe and nurturing care for their children, many parents would have to either give up their jobs or leave their children in less safe, lower quality substitute care.  The stress of this situation on families and children is tremendous, and First 5 San Diego recognizes the significant impact of these cuts.”

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About the First 5 Commission of San Diego
The first five years of life are critical to a child’s development. These years shape a child’s success in school and in life. First 5 San Diego helps parents and others help children during these early years. The Commission leads the greater San Diego community in promoting the vital importance of the first 5 years of life to the well-being of children, families and society. The ultimate goal of the Commission’s work is that all children ages 0 to 5 are healthy, loved and nurtured, and enter school as active learners. Learn more at first5sandiego.org or call toll-free 1 (888) 5 FIRST 5.

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