FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Los Angeles, Calif. (July 17, 2021) — The state budget signed by Governor Newsom represents historic wins for the early care and education (ECE) field and provides critical resources for California families who work hard to provide for their children. Throughout the pandemic, California’s ECE professionals – the majority of whom are women of color – put their lives at risk to care for and educate thousands of the state’s children, and this budget recognizes their heroic actions and embraces them as the foundational profession they are for our children, and for society.
Thanks to rate reform efforts led by State Senator Connie Leyva and persistent advocacy efforts from the Legislative Women’s Caucus, fellow legislative leaders and ECE stakeholders, providers will benefit from a long overdue reimbursement rate increase that is included in the budget. For far too long, ECE professionals have received unacceptably low wages – often themselves qualifying for public assistance – but this critical rate increase will help address this wrong and better support this workforce that serves all other sectors.
Many families were hit hard by the pandemic—losing their jobs and struggling to find affordable, reliable child care, as thousands of providers were forced to close their doors. The budget makes bold recovery and rebuilding efforts, with funding for over 145,000 new child care slots over the next two years, and the waiver of fees for families utilizing state subsidized child care and preschool services over the next year.
Many ECE providers have not yet recovered from this devastating year. Enrollment decreased, and providers were expected to operate under evolving and financially burdensome health and safety guidelines. To address these challenges, the budget includes flexible stipends for providers that can be used for pandemic-related costs, or, in the case of decreased enrollment or closures, to help programs remain open or reopen. The budget also includes funding for professional development – to help early educators learn new methods to foster diverse and inclusive early learning environments – and it includes bold investments in Transitional Kindergarten (TK) with the aim to ensure that every California four-year-old has access to a TK program by the 2025-2026 school year.
We commend Governor Newsom and the State Legislature for drawing a line in the sand and choosing to improve child, family and provider experiences today for better outcomes tomorrow. We also recognize the leadership of President Biden, Vice President Harris, House Speaker Pelosi and many other members of Congress who championed and passed federal COVID-19 relief funding for ECE which helped make these historic State Budget investments possible.
Our journey continues toward an equitable California in which all families can count on reliable child care they trust, ECE professionals are justly compensated for their crucial work, and all young children are able to reach their full potential. This state budget moves us closer to this goal and we look forward to working with the Governor, the legislature and our many passionate ECE partners to shape the best California for our children.
Key early care and education budget investments are included below:
- Over 145,000 new child care slots over the next two years, with a multi-year commitment to fund a total of 200,000 new slots by FY 2025-2026
- Creates Universal Transitional Kindergarten (UTK) by the 2025-2026 school year
- Requires quality standards for TK, including a 1:12 staff to student ratio by 2022-23 and a 1:10 staff to student ratio by 2023-24, subject to future budget appropriations.
- Authorizes California State Preschool Program (CSPP) contracting agencies to offer wraparound child care services for income-eligible children.
- Waives family fees for child care and development programs from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.
Reimbursement rate reform
- Increases child care and preschool program rates to the 75th percentile of their county 2018 RMR, beginning January 1, 2022.
- $188,760,000 for supplemental rate payments to specified child care and preschool providers
- Requires the establishment of a Joint Labor Management Committee to develop and provide recommendations for a single reimbursement rate structure that addresses quality standards for equity and accessibility while supporting positive learning and developmental outcomes for children.
- Requires the establishment of a working group to assess the existing quality standards for child care and development and preschool programs and the methodology for establishing reimbursement rates for these programs.
Child Care Providers United (CCPU) Contracts
- Ratifies the Child Care Providers United contracts, which include:
- Rate increases, reimbursement rate supplements, provider stipends, paid non-operative days, licensing incentives, training opportunities for family child care providers, expansion of the California Inclusion and Behavioral Consultation (CIBC) project, and funding for the Child Care Initiative Project (CCIP).
ECE Infrastructure and Workforce Development
- $250M to provide infrastructure grants for the acquisition, construction, development, and renovation of child care facilities.
- $300M for a California Pre-Kindergarten Program Planning and Implementation Grant to expand access to prekindergarten programs at local educational agencies (LEAs).
- $200M will go to LEAs as base grants, enrollment grants, and supplemental grants for costs associated with creating or expanding CSPP or TK programs, or to establish or strengthen partnerships with other providers of prekindergarten education within the local educational agency.
- $100M will be awarded as competitive grants to LEAs to increase the number of high qualified teachers, and to provide CSPP, TK and kindergarten teachers with training in: providing instruction in inclusive classrooms, culturally responsive instruction, supporting dual language learners, enhancing social-emotional learning, implementing trauma-informed practices and restorative practices, and mitigating implicit biases to eliminate exclusionary discipline.
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