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Reason Foundation

California Childcare Fraud

Lisa Snell
January 30, 2006, 2:41pm

Before we vote for another preschool initiative, perhaps we should ensure that the taxpayer dollars funding childcare actually helps disadvantaged childen. From today's Los Angeles Daily News: Rampant fraud is costing California taxpayers as much as $1.5 billion a year - half of the welfare money it pays to needy families for child care, officials say. . . . Officials estimate Los Angeles County loses 40 percent to 50 percent of its $600 million-a-year child-care allocation to fraud. . . . Cosper said his office is only taking a nip out of the problem. Only one-third of the child-care cases fall under his jurisdiction while two-thirds of the cases fall under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Education, which had no one investigating the scams until recently, he said. Baker said the state just hired five investigators, all to be stationed in Northern California. "It's shameful," Cosper said. "There is so little regulation. The Legislature is either unaware or indifferent to the tremendous losses. It's a completely broken and dysfunctional system." We need to see that the $3 billion California already spends on early childhood education actually reaches children before voting to spend another $2.4 billion on state-funded preschool.

Lisa Snell is Director of Education


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