By Jeremy Hay
California risks losing more than $500 million in federal funds if it doesn’t establish new rules within a year governing eligibility for state-subsidized childcare and after-school programs. At least three attempts to accomplish that have died in the Legislature since 2014.
The state has until Sept. 30, 2017 to comply with a 2-year-old federal requirement to ensure that families qualifying for public childcare, preschool and after-school programs remain eligible for 12 months without having to re-establish eligibility during that time. The legislative window to pass a bill making that change has narrowed to one session, starting in January. Failing that, the change would have to occur through the state budget process.
Advocates and parents say the current rules often cause people to lose benefits over bureaucratic hurdles, when their job status changes or they receive even a minor wage increase.