Budget Cuts Affect Welfare to Work Daycare

State funded child care that allows some women to get off welfare by working is being reduced by the Department of Human Resources, even though the agency's 2004 budget was increased about 7.8%.

Since the DHR budget only passed the legislature Friday, DHR Spokesman Mike Gibson said spending priorities for 2004 are quote -- "fuzzy and the agency doesn't know what will happen."

Jill Zurfluh, Executive Director of the Child Day Care Association in Mobile, said with the September ninth defeat of Governor Bob Riley's tax plan, some daycare centers in Alabama are expected to close and dismiss employees because of the DHR budget.

Children's advocates plan candlelight vigils Monday night at 7 p.m. in Mobile, Daphne, Huntsville, Montgomery, Birmingham, Anniston, Gadsden and Evergreen. Advocates want to spotlight cuts that they say could affect some 12,000 children in daycare statewide and another 15,000 on waiting lists to enroll. DHR has some 38,000 children enrolled statewide in child care.

The vigil in Montgomery will be held on the Capitol Steps.