Child360 staff work vigorously at the local, state and federal levels to increase investment in quality early learning programs and to raise awareness about the importance and impact of quality early learning. Through candidate forums, legislative briefings, public comment, budget advocacy and a host of other measures, we seek to develop new early learning champions and elevate the early care and education field. We regularly partner with legislative offices and with education, advocacy and business organizations in our policy efforts. We also train parents to advocate for their children and communities through our Community Ambassador Program, and work to further public policies that invest in the future of America by putting children first.
Here are some of our recent policy and advocacy efforts:
Federal Budget Advocacy
Child360 has joined advocates across the country in calling for greater federal investments in early learning programs. We have met with dozens of congressional offices to explain how federal early learning programs benefit California families, and used our online advocacy platform to enable community members to write to their elected officials about needed investments in early learning. On March 23, 2018, Congress approved and the president signed an omnibus spending bill that includes critical wins for early care and education. The bill includes a $2.37 billion increase for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, which will enable states to expand child care access for working families, and implement the provisions in the 2014 bipartisan reauthorization of CCDBG that are designed to bolster the quality and safety of child care. The bill also includes an increase of $610 million for Head Start and Early Head Start – $115 million of which will be used for Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership Grants. The spending bill also includes $250 million for the Preschool Development Grants Program.
State Budget Advocacy
During the 2017-18 state budget cycle, Child360 provided budget recommendations to the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees, offered public comment at key hearings and met with legislators to encourage robust investments in early learning. Ultimately, the vigorous advocacy efforts of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, key legislative leaders, the Statewide ECE Coalition (of which Child360 is a member), and dozens of early learning stakeholders proved fruitful when the Governor approved a budget that included significant funding increases for early care and education. Specifically, the budget included $25 million to update decade-old child care income eligibility requirements and to adopt a 12 month eligibility policy for subsidized child care to enable continuity of care. It also honored the commitment made in the FY16-17 budget to add nearly 3,000 full-day state preschool slots and to raise provider reimbursement rates.
Child360 Early Learning Policy Report
At Child360, we know that early learning policy and advocacy efforts are most effective when informed by the perspectives of practitioners and by data on the needs of the field. In Fall 2017, we surveyed a multitude of Los Angeles-based ECE providers and district administrators about how recent state policy and budget changes have impacted their programs, which strategies have proven effective in building strong relationships with families, and what challenges ECE programs and staff are currently facing. Our policy report analyzes the information obtained from over 100 early learning practitioners, identifies policy and budget implications, and provides recommendations for future research. We hope that the report will help early learning advocates and policymakers in their efforts to elevate the early care and education field.
Child360 co-hosts and co-sponsors candidate forums in order to provide the public with an opportunity to learn about the views and policy positions of candidates for local, state and national office. Most recently, Child360 served as a co-sponsor of two forums featuring candidates for California’s gubernatorial race. Hosted by the Advancement Project, the first candidate forum featured State Treasurer John Chiang and former California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin. The second forum featured California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The forums highlighted the professional experiences of the candidates, as well as their policy positions on topics ranging from charter schools to universal preschool. They also required the candidates to go on the record regarding key early learning and K-12 issues.
Early Learning Site Visits for Legislators
Child360 regularly orchestrates early learning site visits for legislators to showcase the work of local providers and Child360 coaches, to educate legislators about the components of high-quality early learning programs and to discuss policy priorities. During these visits, legislators speak with administrators, teachers, parents and Child360 coaches, tour the facilities and observe high-quality early learning programs in action. Child360 recently partnered with First 5 LA, Crystal Stairs, Council for a Strong America, Long Beach Unified School District and Duarte Unified School District to orchestrate site visits for State Senator Anthony Portantino, State Assemblymember Mike Gipson and candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction Marshall Tuck. We also orchestrated an early learning site visit for State Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell at Long Beach Day Nursery – East Branch.