The Court has already rejected that argument in considering defendants' opposition to the preliminary injunction. The obligation to fund child care assistance under the Family Support Act is separate from the obligation to fund programs like GAIN. Child care assistance is not a GAIN expense, and defendants provide no authority for the proposition that state or federal law requires, or even permits, the use of GAIN appropriations to underwrite the independent child care entitlement.
There is no question but that plaintiffs would endure substantial hardship if the preliminary injunction were stayed and further, that the balance of the equities is decidedly in their favor. The record establishes that without the child care benefits, plaintiffs will be forced to choose between dropping out of school or forgoing basic necessities of life. Defendants do not deny the hardship a stay of the preliminary injunction would inflict upon plaintiffs. They acknowledge that at least 276 persons have ceased participating in their education and training activities due to the loss of child care benefits but would resume these activities if benefits were restored. Burke Decl., para. 5.
As courts have held in a myriad of cases, fiscal constraints cannot justify the state's failure to comply with its legal obligations, particular where benefits to the poor and disadvantaged are concerned. See, e.g., Lopez, 713 F.2d at 1435-37; United States v. Midway Heights County Water Dist., 695 F. Supp. 1072, 1076 (E.D. Cal. 1988); Hurley v. TOIA, 432 F. Supp. 1170, 1176 (S.D.N.Y.), aff'd, 573 F.2d 1291 (2d Cir. 1977). The Court is persuaded that plaintiffs have demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that under the Family Support Act, they are entitled to the child care benefits they seek. As this Court has itself observed in the past, irreparable injury is unlikely where the Court has merely ordered the defendants to comply with the law. Dellums v. Smith, 577 F. Supp. 1456, 1458 (N.D. Cal. 1984).
Moreover, the question of where the public interest lies is closely tied to the relative hardships of the parties. The Court appreciates the difficulties inherent in securing the continued funding of various welfare programs, but the Family Support Act unequivocally "guarantees" child care for "each individual" participating in an approved education or training activity. 42 U.S.C.A. § 602(g)(1)(A)(i)(II) (West Supp. 1991). The public interest lies in enforcing that obligation without delay. "Our society as a whole suffers when we neglect the poor, the hungry, the disabled, or when we deprive them of their rights and privileges." Lopez, 713 F.2d at 1437. Therefore, all four considerations militate against granting a stay.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendants' motion for a stay of the preliminary injunction pending appeal is DENIED.
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