Budget Proposal Takes Comprehensive Approach to Support Early Educators, Young Children, and Their Families, Building Strong Foundation for California’s Future
LOS ANGELES, CA – Child360 is encouraged by California Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed state budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, which includes $1.8 billion in child development programs, a significant increase, signaling an ambitious agenda that prioritizes the state’s youngest learners and their families.
Child360 applauds this comprehensive approach to help ensure the state’s youngest citizens receive a great start in life. New funding would expand early care and education (ECE) opportunities for children, enable ECE professionals to advance their education, and bolster parents’ ability to support their child’s learning – each essential elements to help break the cycle of poverty.
There are two measures of particular interest to us: Increased support for a well-trained and supported childcare workforce, and significant funding increases for additional full-day, year-round preschool slots for low-income children.
These focuses create a two-generation approach, with $245 million to invest in the education of the child care workforce – a critical component as we know a well-trained and supported workforce is vital to a high-quality early learning experience. In addition, a nearly $125 million investment for 10,000 new full-day, full-year State Preschool slots for eligible low-income four-year-olds, with the intent to provide an additional 20,000 full-day, full-year slots over the two following years. It is estimated that with this three-year investment, over 200,000 children will be served by State Preschool by 2022. We believe that significant expansion of early learning opportunities will require the services and expertise of community based organizations, so we are heartened that they will be eligible to apply for the new State Preschool funding.
“At Child360, we believe in supporting the whole child — which includes supporting those who care for and teach children,” commented CEO William Sperling. “We are pleased the Governor’s proposal does just that, by seeking to expand preschool opportunities and child care facilities, by helping train child-care workers; and supporting the families and parents of these children, who are in fact the child’s first teacher.”
The first five years are the most critical time in a child’s brain development – when more development happens than at any other point in life. Yet, children who start life at a disadvantage often don’t develop the critical skills they need and are less prepared to begin school. A recent study from researchers at the University of Michigan found that upon kindergarten entry, cognitive scores of children in the highest socioeconomic group were 60 percent higher than those of the lowest group. Child360 hopes these new budget measures will help early educators better close this readiness gap.
The ECE field has faced significant challenges in the past, and we look forward to partnering with the Governor and State Legislature, in stride with our early learning partners throughout the state, to develop policies that prioritize California’s children and those who nurture them during their most critical window.
The proposed budget includes:
– $124.9 million for 10,000 new full-day, full-year State Preschool slots for eligible low-income four-year-olds, with the intent to provide an additional 20,000 full-day, full-year slots over the two following years. It is estimated that with this three-year investment, over 200,000 children will be served by State Preschool by 2022.
—Slots will be provided to community based organizations
-$245 million in one-time funding to invest in the education of the child care workforce
-$245 million in one-time funding to expand subsidized child care facilities
-$10 million to develop a roadmap to provide universal preschool in California, as well as a long-term plan to improve access to and quality of subsidized child care
-$347.6 million in 2019-20 and $455.4M annually thereafter to increase CalWORKS grant levels by 13.1 percent.
—This increase will bring monthly grant payments to 50 percent of the projected 2019 Federal Poverty level
-$78.9 million (combination of federal and state funds) to provide home visiting services to eligible CalWORKS families in 2019-20.
—Services will be provided to pregnant women and families with a child under the age of two for up to 24 months, with priority given to first-time parents.
-$30.5 million to expand home visiting programs and the Black Infant Health Program in the Department of Public Health
-$45 million (combination of federal and state funds) to the Department of Health Care Services for ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) screenings for children and adults in the Medi-Cal program
-$60 million (combination of federal and state funds) for the Department of Health Care Services to increase developmental screenings for children.
-$750 million in one-time funding for full-day kindergarten
—Dollars may be used to construct new or retrofit existing facilities, or to fund other activities that reduce barriers to providing full-day kindergarten
-$50 million in one-time funding to support pilot projects and partnerships (with First 5 CA, local First 5 Commissions, local government and philanthropy) that will support the development or strengthening of models that can expand access to Child Savings Accounts among incoming kindergartners.
-$121.6 million to increase or provide new access awards for students with dependent children attending the University of California, the California State University, or the California Community Colleges.
—The awards are intended to help students with dependent children meet their families’ basic needs and increase their likelihood of degree completion.
-$56 million for Local Child Support Agency administrative costs.
-Convening of a task force to consider different options to phase in and expand Paid Family Leave to allow children to be cared for by a parent or a close relative for up to six months.
Child360 is a leading nonprofit working toward a future where every child has the educational opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. This means supporting the development of the whole child, beginning at birth. Alongside trusted community partners, Child360 improves the quality of early learning and elevates the early learning industry through program support, professional development, advocacy, research, and community engagement. From every angle, we are equipping the next generation, empowering them to discover their potential, and advancing our future workforce. Learn more at www.child360.org
Kristen Barnfield, for Child360