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Child Care Group To Request Funds From City Budget

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The Steering Committee of the Cambridge Coalition for Child Care (CCCC) will submit a proposal to City Manager John Corcoran today requesting funds of approximately $79,000 to implement the child care referendum passed on November 2.

The referendum, which won a 60 percent "yes" vote, called for "the City of Cambridge to make available child care without charge to all Cambridge residents who feel they have need of this service." This referendum victory made Cambridge the first city in the United States to adopt community-controlled child care as an official policy.

In December, a city-wide meeting was held and a CCCC. Steering Committee was selected to determine ways of implementing the difficult mandate of the referendum.

Today's proposal is the result of several weeks of research by the committee into the child care needs of Cambridge.

The Steering Committee is asking $54,000 to establish and maintain for one year an office to serve as a resource and information center and central funding source for the day care centers now operating in Cambridge.

The proposal also asks for a $25,000 allocation to be used in gaining Federal matching funds of $75,000 to be used for "expansion and enrichment of existing programs or development of new programs."

Steering Committee member Margaret Coleman said that approval of the child care requests would not result in a tax increase. "We are only asking the city to revise its budget emphasis," she said.

The proposal says the purpose of the CCCC is "not to set up child care centers, but to facilitate the process by which neighborhood groups of parents can determine their own child care needs and then set up or expand and run the necessary facilities."

Paul Snow, Steering Committee member, said yesterday that the CCCA is trying to involve as many people as possible in that implementation of child care. "We would like to contact all 16,000 people who voted in favor of the November referendum," he said.

He said that public child care should be a community-run project, totally flexible to the needs of the individual neighborhoods, rather than something planned by an external government office. "We would like to develop a sense of responsibility in the community," he said.

Snow also said that day care would have to achieve a wide base of community support in order to gain support from the city government.

Julie Haddad, Steering Committee member and director of two and child care centers in Central Square, said that the committee has found some of the major child care needs of Cambridge to be:

* Facilities to care for pre-school children of mothers who are forced to work:

* Emergency child care services for parents who become ill or are forced to leave the home for short periods of time:

* After-school care for elementary school children whose parents work full time:

* Infant care for children under two and one half years of age;

* "Half-well infirmaries" for children who are slightly sick but whose parents, due to risk of losing their jobs, are unable to stay home and take care of them; and

* Facilities to test pre-school children for physiological problems of which their parents might not be aware.

Hubbard said that the CCCC will not decide which of these problems to attack until it finds out how much money it will have to work with

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