State Budget Forces Dinuba Day Care to Close

January 17, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The state's budget crisis has dealt a serious blow to some south valley teenage moms who have managed to stay in school.Dozens of young mothers who rely on grant money to pay for child care have been dealt a major blow. The state has run out of money and now they could be forced to drop out of school.

For 55 teenage mothers at Dinuba High, the child care provided by the Mennonite Church and Community Youth Ministries has allowed them to stay in class. But that all changed Friday when school officials informed them, state funding through the "CalSafe" program has disappeared.

"We're still waiting for the money. They're talking 11 weeks out from when we submit a bill at best to get the funding to us it's probably going to be longer," said Superintendent Jerry Sessions.

Sessions said the decision came down to making payroll or eliminating the daycare. But these current and future teen moms are frustrated. Many of them don't want to become another drop-out statistic.

"I just don't know how we're going to do it," said sophomore Maria Oceguera.

"I've seen a couple of my friends drop out because they have kids they don't have a life; just working any place trying to get some money and I want an education you know education comes first but then kids come first instead of education," said senior Freddy Garcia.

Before the daycare, many of the girls were home schooled. They worked hard to get back to class.

"They encouraged me a lot to go back to school and be a teenager again and this semester I just started school and because we had free day care but all of a sudden 2, 3 weeks later they don't have it anymore so I don't know what I'm going to do," said junior Amalia Marinez.

School officials said they will still provide daycare at the Community Youth Ministries in Reedley, but it's only for seniors, and many of the girls said working out transportation to and from the daycare in Reedley will be too hard.

Officials will be talking further about the issue next Wednesday.

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