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August 25, 2010

Child Care Centers Get Help

Daily Journal | By Jason W. Armstrong

 

Many people trying to open child care centers say they often find themselves up against a wall of red tape, struggling to decipher a long list of city permit requirements and the related expenses that often accompany efforts to set up these centers in new areas.

That's where Public Counsel's Early Care and Education Law Project comes in.

The unusual program, hosted by Public Counsel lawyers and volunteer attorneys with Hogan Lovells, Goodwin Procter, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and Munger, Tolles & Olson, specifically helps child care operators in Southern California navigate local permitting and other land-use hurdles. The program has been around for two decades, but organizers said it is gaining popularity because of a worsening child care center shortage.

A recent Advancement Project study found that one in five California 4-year-olds can't get into a child care center. In Los Angeles County alone, 100,000 children lack access to child care facilities, according to the county's Office of Child Care.

While the state has other programs to help child care owners, the Public Counsel project appears to be the only one focusing on helping them overcome real estate challenges, according to Karla Y. Pleitez, staff attorney with the Los Angeles-based organization.

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