More than 6 in 10 California children under the age of 12 live in families where all parents are working. For this reason, child care providers are a critical component of the state and nation’s economic infrastructure, ensuring that children have a safe space to learn and grow while parents work. Many providers in California have stepped up to the challenge of delivering care and distance learning support for families during the COVID-19 pandemic and recession — particularly for children with parents who are essential workers. But the state’s child care system is on the verge of collapse.
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the depths and reach of racism on the health of children, families, and individuals, with communities of color in California experiencing higher rates of illness, death, and overall hardship due to the virus. This devastation must be the catalyst for California policymakers to acknowledge that racism has caused lasting and negative impacts on communities of color. While some local policymakers in California have declared racism as a public health crisis, there has not been a declaration at the state level. This Report provides a high level overview on how health inequities are a direct consequence of historic and ongoing racism.
As families across California struggle with COVID-19, it is increasingly critical that children have the resources they need at birth to lay the foundation for lifelong well-being. Assets such as family, health, and financial resources are strongly associated with child health and resilience, and with fewer harmful experiences such as involvement in the child welfare system. When children are exposed to adverse experiences and toxic stress, early intervention tools like evidence-based home visiting can reduce or prevent negative outcomes.
California is losing jobs again. As COVID-19 cases surged in late 2020 and new restrictions affecting businesses had to be put in place, California began to lose jobs again for the first time since the pandemic began. This deepened the massive hole in the state’s job market. In total, California had 1.5 million fewer jobs in December than in February 2020, the month before the COVID-19 recession began. As 2020 came to an end – and 10 months into the COVID-19 recession – California was still down more jobs than the state lost during the Great Recession.
Undocumented Californians and mixed status families have been excluded from thousands of dollars in federal aid and most other supports during the worst recession in generations.