Child care is critical for working parents, but the high cost of care can be a challenge for families. A very small share of California families with low and moderate incomes receive care through the state’s subsidized child care and development system. Many of these families pay monthly fees into this system — fees that can be unaffordable for families who are living paycheck to paycheck. Working parents should not have to face impossible choices each month about whether to pay for food, rent, or child care. Learn more about family fees and why policymakers must use state and federal dollars to waive fees, ensure child care providers are supported, and boost families’ economic security.
High-quality, affordable child care and preschool is essential for California families to live and thrive. Child care and preschool programs help children to learn and explore, while allowing parents to participate in the workforce knowing their children are in good hands. The Budget Center examines state funding and related policies for child care and early education, including opportunities to broaden access to quality programs for families with low and middle incomes.
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.
In this presentation learn what funding early care and education programs received in the 2020-21 state budget and from federal relief in 2020, and the additional support providers, workers, and families – particularly Californians of color and families in low-income households – still need from state and federal policymakers in the ongoing pandemic.
During this unprecedented health and economic crisis, many subsidized child care providers in California have stepped up to the challenge of providing early learning and care for families with low and moderate incomes – particularly for children with parents who are essential workers. While the state and federal government have both provided emergency funding to support subsidized child care providers, total support falls far short of the estimated level necessary to sustain child care providers. In addition, the Governor’s May Revision would cut provider payment rates by 10%. These rate cuts could be detrimental for child care providers who were already underpaid and operating on thin margins prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, during this crisis, providers are faced with dramatically higher costs due to smaller class sizes, increased staffing per child, and the added expense of keeping facilities clean as they care for and educate children.
As California grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been essential workers in hospitals, grocery stores, agricultural fields, and many other core services that have helped ensure the health and safety of our communities. But essential workers can’t go to work – no matter how vital their jobs – without a safe space for their children to learn and grow. This presentation by Senior Policy Analyst Kristin Schumacher covers research on the state’s essential workers, industries, and occupations – conducted in partnership with the UC Berkeley Labor Center. You’ll also learn how many children in California had parents who were considered essential workers and the number of children who were income-eligible for subsidized care with parents working in essential jobs.