LIVERMORE -- Joselin Perez spent her final moments at the Marylin Avenue Elementary School day care Tuesday saying goodbye to her teachers and hugging longtime site coordinator Michele Cohoon.
Six-year-old Joselin was expected to continue in the Livermore Area Park and Recreation Districts child care program in the fall with her younger sister Vanessa, but state budget cuts derailed those plans.
Instead, Joselin was one of the 250 children in the program who lost free child care Wednesday after the park district's Extended Student Services school-age child care program lost a $670,000 grant it had received from the state Department of Education (through the private nonprofit child development agency Kidango) for the past three decades.
"The program helped us out a lot," said Joselin's mother, Gabriela Andrade, on Tuesday through an interpreter. "Joselin was a really shy girl before this program, but she changed here and learned how to communicate with the other kids."
Joselin's parents work full-time and had for the past year received child care through the 30-year-old program offered by the parks district in cooperation with the Livermore school district. Andrade said she will rely on family members and friends to watch Joselin for the immediate future, and expects to switch to part-time work so she can look after Joselin after that.
"It's heartbreaking," said Cohoon about losing kids from the program. "We try and take care
The loss of funding could hit hard at the Marylin Avenue Elementary site, where at least 20 of the enrolled 77 kids attended by virtue of the state grant, Cohoon said
The district program serves more than 950 kids per year in grades kindergarten through fifth at 10 different school sites in Livermore. During the school year families pay $395 per child for care before school, beginning at 7 a.m. and after school until 6 p.m. The summer program runs from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at a cost of $560 per month with the rate prorated in June and August, said Tim Barry, the park district's general manager.
"We have prided ourselves on the ability to be able to meet the need for low-income families," Barry said. "Many of those that lose the subsidy may turn to latchkey kids."
To combat the problem the district is referring families to its sliding scale program that started last year and offers care to low-income families based on income and family size. Barry said the park district will try and recruit more full-paying families into the program.
For more information about the sliding scale program offered by the park district, contact its youth services office at 925-960-2480.
Contact Robert Jordan at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/robjordan127.