Legislative Day Brief
Posted: March 1, 2018
Affordable, Accessible Quality Child Care Is a Pathway to Economic Security
Parents, child care administrators, school districts, advocates and economists agree — a robust child care system is critical so parents can continue to work and children can thrive.
California has made progress on expanding education opportunities for our older children to attend preschool and transitional-kindergarten, and now is the time for the state to focus its attention on our youngest, most vulnerable children during these first key years.
Critical investments for new child care spaces, adequate per-child funding, age appropriate facilities and infrastructure, start-up support, and professional development for all care settings are necessary to enhance our child care system.
INVEST IN ADDITIONAL ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE CHILD CARE
- Well-established research demonstrates that the first three years of a child’s life are critical to a child’s healthy brain development and growth. Responsive caregivers, consistent everyday interactions and safe, enriching experiences are critical during this time.
- Stable, enriching, affordable child care is simply not available for most low-income families, and this crisis is particularly acute for our state’s infants and toddlers.
- 62% of California’s children are born into low-income households, yet less than
- 14% of California’s income-eligible infants and toddlers, ages 0-2, are enrolled in affordable, subsidized care.
- More than 1.2 million California children from birth through age 12 who are eligible
- for subsidized child care are not receiving services. This severe undersupply is creating a crisis for working parents, their families, our businesses and our state’s future.
- Increasing access through the Alternative Payment Program, which provides working parents a voucher to utilize in the child care setting of their choice, is the most immediate way to help address this severe shortage in our mixed delivery system. Building up the infrastructure and capacity of center-based programs to serve more children, particularly infants and toddlers, is also key to expanding access.
INCREASE PROVIDER SUPPORT ACROSS THE ECE SYSTEM TO IMPROVE SERVICES TO INFANTS AND TODDLERS
- Support current bills that accomplish this goal (AB 605 Mullin, AB 2001 Reyes, AB 2292 Aguiar-Curry).
- Create a single child care center license, for birth to first grade aged children to streamline high-quality early learning environments.
- Invest in the capacity and infrastructure that will be needed to ensure increased services for infants and toddlers across the state by:
- Increasing the infant/toddler reimbursement rate factor to better reflect the actual cost of care;
- Reestablishing professional development days for Title 5 providers;
- Providing child care centers with start-up and program implementation funds so they can begin to convert existing preschool classrooms into appropriate infant and toddler rooms; and Increasing support for workforce development initiatives, such as the Child Care Initiative Project, and infrastructure to support parents in finding care.
BROADEN THE GOVERNOR’S PROPOSED EARLY EDUCATION EXPANSION PROGRAM
- Use the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) definition of Early Childhood Inclusion to ensure equitable opportunity for all types of early learning providers.
- Ensure one-time funding in this program provides significant support for facilities, equipment, professional development and other quality improvements across our mixed-delivery system.
- Augment funding for the program and allow enough flexibility with this one-time funding during a five-year period so that it providers can sustainably grow services to children and families.