Parent Voices: Child Care Matters

“Before I joined Parent Voices three years ago, I never knew I had a voice or that my voice mattered. Today, I know better…Parent Voices has changed the person I used to be into the person I always wanted to be, strong, confident and fearless!” – Parent Voices member

Parent Voices is a network of mothers advocating for quality and affordable childcare for all families. Without affordable, reliable child care, low-income mothers have little chance of finding good jobs and staying employed (for the full story, download Child Care Matters, the latest report released by the Women’s Economic Security Campaign*)

Image courtesy of San Francisco Chronicle, Mike Kepka

Yet just this month, Governor Schwarzenegger eliminated budgeted funding for the 12-year old CALWORKS Stage 3 Child Care Program. This program supplies critical child care services to working parents who are former recipients of welfare. Without the program, many of these working parents will have to quit their current employment in order to stay home and care for their children.

Since the Governor’s move, Parent Voices has been advocating for reinstatement of the program (for more information on the campaign, visit the website of Parent Voices).

Besides the greater difference Parent Voices makes by advocating on behalf of Californian mothers, Parent Voices changes the lives of its members in positive and life-affirming ways. For example, here’s how Beckie Moralez’ life was changed. (From Child Care Matters):

When Beckie Moralez joined Parent Voices, she was struggling to overcome drug abuse while raising her young children, now ages six and five, in a transitional shelter in Butte County, north of Sacramento. “Child care was making a huge difference for me. I knew my kids were in a safe place while I was working on overcoming my addiction and going back to school. If I didn’t have it, I would have moved backwards instead of forwards―back into the poverty I grew up in,” says Moralez.

Today, Moralez is working as a drug and alcohol counselor, no longer receives public assistance and is moving into her own home. “It is very important for women like me to let legislators know that if we can get child care, we can go back to school and have the kinds of careers we see other people getting but feel are out of reach for us. The message from legislators is always about jobs, but they need to know that without child care we can’t work,” says Moralez

“Our goal is to create a real community for these mothers who are normally completely isolated from larger groups and other mothers,” says Mary Ignatius, statewide organizer for Parent Voices.

*WESC was launched through the combined efforts and leadership of the Women’s Foundation of California, the Chicago Foundation for Women, Washington Area Women’s Foundation and the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, and works in collaboration with the Women’s Funding Network.

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