Child360 staff work vigorously at the local, state and federal levels to increase investment in quality early care and education (ECE) programs and to raise awareness about the importance and impact of quality early learning. Through budget advocacy, legislative briefings, candidate forums, public comment 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:
State Budget Advocacy
- AB 194 (Gomez-Reyes): child care spaces
- AB 324 (Aguiar-Curry): ECE workforce development
- AB 452 (Mullin): child care facilities
- AB 125 (McCarty) & SB 174 (Leyva): reimbursement rate reform
- More than 12,500 new Alternative Payment Program and General Child Care spaces
- 10,000 new full-day State Preschool (CSPP) spaces through non-local education agency providers
- $195M to provide ECE professionals with tuition stipends, coaching and career counseling that will enable them to move along the ECE career lattice and receive critical professional development support.
- $263M to construct, renovate, repair, modernize or retrofit child care and preschool facilities
- $5M to develop a strategic Master Plan for Early Learning and Care
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 ECE 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. In June, the House of Representatives passed an appropriations bill that includes an additional $2.4 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). This increase would enable states to expand access to high-quality child care for low-income families and ensure that programs meet critical health and safety requirements. The House also approved an additional $1.5 billion for the federal Head Start program, including a $525 million increase for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships. It is expected that the Senate will introduce 2020 appropriations legislation later this year. Congress and the White House have already reached a deal to increase spending caps in fiscal year 2020 for non-defense discretionary programs, which enables increased investments in child care, housing and other critical programs that support low-income families.
Voices from the Field: Results from Early Learning Survey and Provider Focus Group
Effective ECE policy requires input from practitioners in the field, so Child360 and Early Edge California went directly to ECE providers to seek their feedback. In fall 2018, we surveyed Los Angeles-based ECE providers about needed workforce supports and common challenges faced by programs. After reviewing and synthesizing this data, we held a focus group with a cadre of providers in family child care homes and centers that enabled us to further explore issues that were addressed in the survey. The findings from the survey and focus group can be found in our policy brief, which we shared with state legislators, the Governor’s office, the CA Department of Finance, fellow ECE advocates and providers.
Data from our policy brief highlights the need for increased provider reimbursement rates and funding for tuition stipends, among other issues. Utilizing the brief in legislative meetings not only helps to make a strong case for critical ECE bills, but also provides a compelling leave-behind for legislators to use when crafting, evaluating and advocating for ECE legislation. Legislators consistently emphasize that data provides the necessary foundation and motivation they need to take political action.
Sacramento Advocacy Trip for ECE Providers and Parents
In May 2019, Child360 orchestrated an advocacy trip to Sacramento for ECE providers, parents, Child360 Board Members and staff. During our meetings with state legislators, we brought attention to key ECE bills and discussed needed investments in child care spaces, ECE workforce development, child care facilities and reimbursement rate reform. The advocacy experience helped provider and parent advocates to recognize that they have an important role to play in the legislative process, and to become confident in advocating for policy changes. On the second day of our trip, our group joined hundreds of parents from around the State for a child care rally and legislative meetings at the Capitol. In addition to the many parents with whom we collaborated, we also joined forces with representatives from the Child Care Resource Center (CCRC), the Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles, Crystal Stairs and Parent Voices.
Early Learning Site Visits for Legislators
Child360 regularly orchestrates early learning site visits for legislators to educate them about the components of high-quality early learning programs, to discuss policy priorities, and to showcase the work of local providers and Child360 coaches. 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 held early learning site visits for CA Senator Scott Wilk at McGrath Preschool in Newhall and for CA Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi at Gardena Early Education Center. Both legislators are in critical positions to make decisions regarding early care and education, and we used these visits to highlight key ECE bills and budget priorities and to answer the legislators’ questions. These visits also provided an opportunity for the legislators to interact with children, hear directly from ECE directors and teachers about the needs of the field, and learn how state and local quality improvement dollars are helping teachers improve their craft and enhancing the classroom experience. Ultimately, site visits like these help legislators to better understand the value of early childhood programs and to make more informed decisions about ECE policy.
Partnership with Fellow ECE Advocates and Community Coalitions
- Worked with fellow Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) Committee members to advise the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) on the creation and expansion of a Dual Language Early Learning Pilot Program.
- In tandem with fellow Early Childhood Alliance members, provided feedback to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on critical criteria to use for a facilities assessment of county-owned properties that could be used for child care purposes.
- Updated the Valley Industry & Commerce Association’s (VICA) Education Committee on state ECE budget and policy issues and presented six key ECE bills to VICA’s Board of Directors for their support. On May 23, the Board voted to support all six bills and VICA has since highlighted the bills in its weekly e-newsletter and set up action alerts for VICA members to send letters of support for the bills to the state legislature.
- Highlighted key ECE budget needs during a roundtable discussion with Governor Gavin Newsom, senior Administration officials and fellow ECE advocates regarding the Governor’s robust 2019-2020 budget proposal for ECE.
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 co-hosted a forum in partnership with Cal State Northridge (CSUN) and Pacoima Beautiful, which featured candidates for California’s 39th assembly district. Attended by over fifty community members, the forum highlighted the professional experiences of the candidates, as well as their plans and priorities on topics ranging from early learning to homelessness.