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 2018 state budget cycle, Child360 joined the Legislative Women’s Caucus, fellow Statewide ECE Coalition members, and dozens of advocates across the state in calling for “1-Billion Dollars for Babies.” The budget request was designed to address the significant shortage of infant/toddler care for low-income families in California, and to boost reimbursement rates for providers of this care. We and our partners championed the cause by providing specific budget recommendations to the Senate and Assembly budget committees, offering public comment at key hearings, and meeting with dozens of legislators to encourage robust investments in early learning. Ultimately, the vigorous advocacy efforts of key legislative leaders and ECE advocates proved fruitful when the Governor approved a budget that included critical wins for early care and education. Several key investments include:
- $220.4M for 13,407 new Alternative Payment Program slots, which provide flexible child care options for working families
- $167.2M for an Inclusive Early Education Expansion Program, designed to increase the availability of early education and care for children ages 0 to 5, especially in low-income, high-need areas of the state.
- $39.7 million to increase the reimbursement rate adjustment factors for child care providers serving infants, toddlers, children with exceptional needs, and severely disabled children.
- $5 million for licensed child care teacher professional development
- The budget also honors the commitments made in the FY 2016-17 budget to increase provider reimbursement rates, to provide for preschool cost of living adjustments, and to fund an additional 2,959 full-day State Preschool slots.
Voices from the Field: Focus Group Brief
Effective early care and education (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 about common challenges faced by programs. After reviewing and synthesizing this data, we held a focus group with a cadre of providers 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.
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 co-hosted a forum in partnership with Cal State Northridge (CSUN) and Pacoima Beautiful, which featured candidates for California’s thirty-ninth 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. In October 2017, Child360 also 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.
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 partnered with Para Los Niños to orchestrate a site visit for seven state legislators from around the country who were visiting Los Angeles for the Legislative Summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures. We also recently orchestrated site visits for State Senator Anthony Portantino, State Assemblymembers Laura Friedman, Mike Gipson and Patrick O’Donnell, and candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction Marshall Tuck.