Playing With Our Future: Child Care and Development Spending at Its Lowest Level in Over a Decade

State child care and preschool programs provide safe and affordable care that helps low- and moderate-income parents find and retain jobs. These programs are as important as ever as parents work to keep their jobs or return to the workforce in the aftermath of the Great Recession. In light of this, it is especially troubling, as we’ll show in an upcoming CBP report, that total spending for child care and development programs—which include child care, preschool, and afterschool programs—has dropped dramatically since 2007-08 and would fall even further under the Governor’s Proposed 2012-13 Budget. In just four years, child care and development spending in California has dropped from its peak by 22.7 percent, after adjusting for inflation. Under the Governor’s proposal, spending would fall by an additional 18.5 percent in 2012-13, to its lowest level since 1998-99. The CBP’s upcoming report will look at recent trends in state child care and development programs, examine recent spending cuts targeting child care and preschool, and highlight the importance of these programs for California’s working families.

— Sam Sellers