First 5 funding will pay for child care for 200 SLO County children

More than 200 children in San Luis Obispo County will continue to receive child care services on Monday, thanks to funds from First 5 San Luis Obispo County.

First 5 commissioners this week approved up to $300,000 to provide child care to families with children up to 5 years old for the next three months — by which time Executive Director Susan Hughes hopes the California Legislature will have restored funding to the program.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger used a line-item veto three weeks ago to cut $256 million in funding from CalWORKs Stage 3, which subsidizes child care for families who have transitioned off welfare but still need help covering the cost of child care.

The veto left 434 children in San Luis Obispo County without child care, according to the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County.

The funds from First 5 will allow 204 county children to continue attending their child care programs. It will not assist the 230 older children affected by the cut, who will still be without child care services starting Monday.

First 5 supports programs for expectant parents and children up to age 5. It is funded through Proposition 10, passed in 1998, which added a 50-cent per-pack tax on cigarettes.