New Budget Has Strong Child Care Provisions

June 16, 2016

The Child Care Law Center is thrilled to announce that the new California State Budget has some of the best affordable child care provisions in the whole country.

State legislators approved the Budget unanimously on and the Governor is expected to sign it early next week.

The provisions authored by the Child Care Law Center and Parent Voices, and supported by First 5 California, guarantee that a child will remain in affordable child care programs for one year without having to justify eligibility. Parents will retain affordable child care so long as they don’t earn above 85% of the State Median Income.

The budget bill also updates important guidelines and rates to keep up with the rising minimum wage. This was a top priority for the Law Center, because parents were being told they were ineligible for affordable child care, and child care providers were unable to meet the rising operating costs.

Dozens of legislators championed children and early childhood programs and deserves many thanks for standing up for California values:

  • Assembly Member Miguel Santiago
  • Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher
  • Assembly Member Kevin McCarty
  • Assembly Budget Committee Chair Phil Ting
  • Senate Budget Committee Chair Holly Mitchell
  • Assembly Member Cristina Garcia and the Legislative Women’s Caucus

The child care and preschool spending provisions are:

  • $25 million to update income guidelines and adopt twelve-month eligibility;
  • Funding for 2,959 full day state preschool slots administered by Local Education Agencies.  If they don’t spend the money, it can be used by non-LEAs for part-time preschool;
  • Restore the 5% “paused” increase to this year’s Standard Reimbursement Rate paid to contracted child care centers and preschools, and provide an additional 6.16% increase for this year;
  • $42.2 million to increase the Regional Market Rate Reimbursement to child care providers serving low-income families
    • Annualizes last year’s increase, and updates the rate to the 2016 Regional Market Rate Survey, effective January 1, 2018;
  • $15 million to fund emergency child care for foster children, beginning Jan 1, 2018 and $31 million ongoing to establish a voluntary county program that would provide emergency vouchers and $5 Million to the R&R’s for navigation services for families;
  • Title 22 regulations and staffing ratios still apply to LEA-administered preschools. Establish a stakeholder group, led by the LAO, to examine health and safety regulatory requirements under Title 22, and to report back to the Legislature by March 2018.

When signed by the Governor,  the budget will fund and enact all the provisions of AB 60, authored and championed by Assembly Members Santiago and Gonzalez Fletcher.  Parent Voices, Child Care Law Center and First 5 California sponsored the legislation to update family eligibility and streamline reporting requirements for families.

“This will help 280,000 kids. Parents can take the better job opportunities they’ve earned without fear of losing affordable child care, the very thing they need to work and for their kids to learn,” said Mary Ignatius, state organizer for Parent Voices.