East Los Angeles celebrated the opening Saturday of a nonprofit preschool and child-care center for low-income families.

The new facility, the Gloria Molina-Para Los Ninos Child Development Center, will help fill a need in the unincorporated community, which lacks sufficient child-care centers, said Elena Stern, a spokeswoman for Para Los Ninos, the center operator. Officials held a dedication ceremony Saturday.

With four classrooms surrounding a courtyard playground, the 12,000-square-foot facility will complete East Los Angeles’ newly renovated civic center. It has spaces for 88 children, ages 2 through 5, Stern said. Thirty children have enrolled since the center opened its doors two weeks ago.


Tuition is based on a family’s ability to pay, with many parents paying nothing. A family of six that makes $28,000 a year might pay $3 a day for their children.

The center was built with Los Angeles County money and receives additional funding from the state and through Los Angeles Universal Preschool, a corporation funded by the local First 5 commission, which controls Proposition 10 funds. The 1998 proposition increased cigarette taxes by 50 cents a pack to pay for early childhood development programs.

Para Los Ninos operates six other child-care and preschool centers in under-served areas in Los Angeles County as well as after-school programs and family support services.

-- Rong-Gong Lin II