Area preschools and child care centers are seeing slightly better days after a rough few years of continued cuts in funding for child care tuition assistance, and some families may see funding next year.

A combined $81 million has been cut from child care subsidies, according to Bruce Liggett, executive director of the Arizona Childcare Association.

In Ahwatukee Foothills, child caregivers at nearby preschools and centers had seen dramatic reductions in kids as recent as last year.

“It was pretty rough,” said Caroline Valdez, director of Childtime Learning Center. “If we have fewer children we have to cut volunteer hours as well.”

Childtime, near 50th Street and Warner Road, has cut its volunteer hours by about 20 percent and average about 43 children per day.

“It’s really low,” said Valdez, who mentioned the day care has a capacity for 96 kids. “But we are actually up from last year.

According to Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposed state budget, a $9.6 million in child care assistance could benefit low-income families working with Child Protective Services and foster parents.

Elsa Cervantes, assistant director of Sunrise Preschool in Ahwatukee, said the proposed funding would help some of her foster care families at the school.

“This would help a whole lot,” she said.

With the proposed funding, about 4,000 children of 2,100 low-income working parents would be protected from further cuts. Though it does not address the rest of the families unrelated to CPS or foster care.

“We know that child care is costly,” Liggett said. “This is a step in the right direction for the state.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or Follow on Twitter: @_dianamartinez.

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