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Democrats Seek To Expand Child Care Vouchers

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio News

Children gather in front of a podium before a press conference at the Capitol on expanded child care on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2015.

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio News

California Democratic lawmakers are making increased state subsidies for child care a legislative priority. They led a rally today at the Capitol. A bill authored by Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leon would increase the number of state-funded child care vouchers for low income families.

De Leon says providing more child care will allow more parents to work.

"And that's what it’s all about. It’s about economic growth for the state of California," he says. "With this legislation we're taking the first step to strengthen and reinvest in our child care system."

Shavonne Brown says she signed up for child care assistance as soon as she found out she was pregnant. And the single mother says she continued to work.

"Whoever would allow me the opportunity to work and support my children, I was there," she says. "I never got the help that I needed. My daughter and I have been on the waiting list 25 years." 

Democrats have not said how many more vouchers they'd like to fund or how much the expansion would cost. And they acknowledge they may not get much support from Governor Jerry Brown, who has said the state must act with fiscal restraint.