By Todd R. Hansen
First 5 Solano has become a kind of emergency services agency since the Covid-19 pandemic created a need for child care for essential workers.
As the pandemic forced the closure of schools, preschools and other child care programs, the need for “pop-up care sites” where essential workers could take their children while they were working became more and more pressing.
So the Solano County Office of Emergency Services turned to First 5 Solano, starting in March, to find child care options, particularly in Vallejo.
Source: First 5 Solano becomes emergency services agency for child care
By Thomas Gase
Thanks in large part to First 5 Solano and the Solano County Office of Emergency Services, the Solano County Emergency PopUp Childcare Program is now available in Vallejo.
The free program, created on April 2 as the coronavirus pandemic continued to spread, supports health care workers, first responders, disaster services workers and essential employees working in Vallejo. It is not available to the general public.
All childcare centers will follow social distancing, sanitation, and hygiene practices described in the March 18 COVID-19 guidelines for childcare providers, Solano County Public Health.
Source: Coronavirus: First 5 Solano offering childcare for essential employees in Vallejo – Times-Herald
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today congratulated the California Department of Education and the Tribal Child Care Association of California for securing funds to address early learning disparities in tribal populations. Their Project HOPE grant provides the State of California the opportunity to strengthen its partnership with the Tribal Child Care Association of California to engage and continue work with tribes to support early learning and child care.
The association is made up of child care professionals specializing in working with tribal families, children, and communities. It focuses on the needs of tribally regulated child care and education settings both on and off tribal lands. The grant will be funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation via the BUILD Initiative.
“The State of California has never partnered with California tribes at such a deep level to support early learning,” said Torlakson. “The work funded by the Project HOPE grant builds on California’s groundbreaking memorandum of understanding with the Tribal Child Care Association of California, which was signed in November 2017 and formalized the CDE’s partnership with a group of tribal sovereign nations in California.”
Source: Addressing Early Learning and Child Care Disparity – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
By Kristin Schumacher
For the fifth year in a row, funding for California’s subsidized child care and development system has increased. This system provides critical child care and early learning opportunities for a limited number of children from low- and moderate-income families, but state funding was cut dramatically during and after the Great Recession, while federal funding for subsidized child care remained relatively flat. This meant that fewer children and families received subsidized care than prior to the onset of the Great Recession. However, state policymakers have incrementally reinvested in these programs and services beginning with the 2014-15 state fiscal year, and bipartisan support for subsidized child care at the federal level has resulted in newly available federal funds, as well. Due to these investments, after adjusting for inflation, overall funding for California’s subsidized child care and development system in the 2018-19 fiscal year is $3.887 billion, 15% greater than in 2017-18 ($3.375 billion), and nearly even with funding levels in 2007-08, prior to the onset of the Great Recession (see chart).
Source: Dollars for Child Care and Preschool in 2018-19 Near Pre-Recession Levels With Boost From One-Time Funding – California Budget & Policy Center
Putting the Governor’s 2018-19 May Revision in Context
Several key considerations provide the backdrop:
•State revenues for the coming fiscal year are projected to be higher than previously forecast.
•Economic hardship – overall poverty as well as child poverty – remains very high in most parts of the state, even several years after the end of the Great Recession.
•Various key public services and supports continue to operate at diminished levels due to state cuts made during and after the recession
Source: Microsoft PowerPoint – CAPPA May Revise Handout
By Ashley Hopkinson
In an effort to remove obstacles for Californians trying to succeed in the labor market, a new law could make access to child care easier for low-income parents taking classes to learn English or complete high school.
The law will expand the eligibility requirements for subsidized child care. It will make low-income parents who are are enrolled in English as a second language classes (ESL) or a program to earn a high school diploma or general education development certificate (GED) eligible to place their children in subsidized care.
Although in the past some parents taking ESL classes were considered eligible for subsidized care, it was not specifically listed as a factor for eligibility.
Source: New California law expands low-income parents’ access to subsidized child care | EdSource
On June 27, Governor Brown signed the 2017-18 state budget bill. This year’s budget agreement includes a number of improvements over earlier proposals, though the overall scope of state investments remains constrained by uncertainty about potential federal policy changes. The 2017-18 budget package:
- Expands the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) to well over 1 million additional families by expanding the credit to the self-employed and increasing the income eligibility limits.
- Reflects an agreement between the Governor and legislative leaders over how to spend Proposition 56 tobacco tax revenues for Medi-Cal, with this funding going to supplemental payments for Medi-Cal providers and also to covering ordinary spending growth in the program.
Source: First Look: Enacted Budget Includes a Number of Improvements, Reflects Ongoing Uncertainty About Federal Commitments – California Budget & Policy Center
By Louis Freedberg and Susan Frey
Despite continuing efforts to expand learning time for young children, large numbers of low-income California children still lack access to full-day programs in state-supported preschool, according to a new EdSource report.
The report, titled “Expanding Early Learning Time: Accessing Full Day Preschool and Kindergarten in California,” points to compelling research that shows that attending high-quality, full-day preschool is associated with improved learning outcomes for students. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, for example, found that full-day preschool attendance contributed to greater school readiness on four measures: social-emotional development, language development, math performance and physical health.
Source: California still has a way to go in offering ‘full-day’ preschool | EdSource
By Nick Sestanovich
Preschool is an important milestone in every person’s life. It is when children take their first steps into the world of education. However, it can be a lot of work just to get started. Thankfully, as they have in the past, the Benicia Moms Group will be hosting an Early Education Fair to let parents know what to expect. According to Brittainy Sapien, a vice president of administration for Benicia Moms Group, the group first hosted a Preschool Fair in 2013 under the guidance of member Ann Brooner. It was also held in 2014 and 2015 but was canceled in 2016 due to a lack of resources and intesrest. “When we did not host the fair in 2016, we had heard a lot of feedback that people had missed the fair, so we knew that it was an important thing to bring back to the community,” Sapien said. With the help of Benicia Unified School District and First 5 Solano, the Early Education Fair is back to provide information on preschool and kindergarten. Parents can have questions about preschool answered, meet with community resources and learn about activities and childcare for kids ages 5 and under. Benicia Unified representatives will also be on hand to talk about kindergarten preparedness.
Source: Benicia Moms Group’s Early Education Fair returns
By Kristin Schumacher
Parents with low- and moderate-incomes often struggle to stay afloat, balancing the soaring cost of child care against the high price of housing and other expenses. California’s subsidized child care and development programs, which are funded by both the state and federal governments, help many families make ends meet and allow them to avoid difficult choices about where to leave their children while at work. Yet, seven years after the end of the Great Recession, these programs as a whole continue to operate at below pre-recession levels, with inflation-adjusted funding well down from 2007-08 levels due to state budget cuts. This means that far fewer families with low and moderate incomes receive subsidized child care today than before the Great Recession began in 2007.
There is tremendous unmet need in California for subsidized child care. In 2015, an estimated 1.5 million children from birth through age 12 were eligible for care, according to a Budget Center analysis of federal survey data. However, only 218,000 children were enrolled in programs that could accommodate families for more than a couple of hours per day and throughout the entire year (see chart). Child care subsidies provide job stability and have been shown to increase parents’ earnings. Subsidies also allow families to afford higher-quality child care where their children can learn and grow. Boosting support for families struggling to afford child care is critical, especially given that the cost of child care and nursery school nationally has outpaced overall inflation since the end of the Great Recession. In California, more than two out of three families with children who are living in poverty include someone who is working. Yet, in 2015 the cost of child care for an infant and school-age child in a licensed center was equal to 99 percent of the annual income for a single mother and two children living at the federal poverty line ($19,096).
Source: Over 1.2 Million California Children Eligible for Subsidized Child Care Did Not Receive Services From State Programs in 2015 – California Budget & Policy Center
By Jeremy Hay
California risks losing more than $500 million in federal funds if it doesn’t establish new rules within a year governing eligibility for state-subsidized childcare and after-school programs. At least three attempts to accomplish that have died in the Legislature since 2014.
The state has until Sept. 30, 2017 to comply with a 2-year-old federal requirement to ensure that families qualifying for public childcare, preschool and after-school programs remain eligible for 12 months without having to re-establish eligibility during that time. The legislative window to pass a bill making that change has narrowed to one session, starting in January. Failing that, the change would have to occur through the state budget process.
Advocates and parents say the current rules often cause people to lose benefits over bureaucratic hurdles, when their job status changes or they receive even a minor wage increase.
Source: State could lose federal funds if rules for child care eligibility don’t change
By Jeremy Hay
California families who qualify for state-subsidized child care would be guaranteed eligibility for 12 months under a bill working its way through the state Legislature that would bring the state into compliance with federal requirements.
Under current state law, families in California’s publicly funded preschool and childcare programs for low-income children must re-establish their eligibility at least once every six months and any time there are changes to their employment situation, income or family size. Parents who work a variable schedule – one in which hours can change weekly – must re-establish their eligibility every four months. Childcare and family advocates have long urged legislators to change those requirements. There are about 270,000 children in the state-funded programs.
Source: California bill would change law governing eligibility period for subsidized child care | EdSource
By Todd R. Hansen
An emotional Monica Brown questioned why there is even a need to pass additional taxes to support children’s services, but because she believes the need is great, she would support a proposal for a quarter-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot.
Her 2nd District opponent, Mike Ioakimedes, said he would likely support the initiative, but he called it another “Band-Aid measure,” and said real change will only come with an overhaul of the tax system.
“It is incomprehensible that in 2016 we have to take votes to take care of our kids,” said Brown, who broke down in tears when discussing the proposed Solano Fund for Children. “What kind of society are we that we don’t take care of our children?”
Source: District 2 hopefuls differ on children’s tax measure
By Todd R. Hansen
The Board of Supervisors faced a full room of advocates imploring that it was time to invest in Solano’s children.
“Is there any reason you won’t support us?” the board was asked by four children in a rehearsed plea to support a ballot measure that, as proposed, would raise the sales tax 25 cents over the next 10 years.
Suisun City Vice Mayor Lori Wilson said the kind of services that the measure would support gave her hope and a chance at a productive life. In an emotional testimonial, she described a childhood of homelessness and abuse.
Source: County will help children’s group craft ballot measure
By John Fensterwald
Advocates for expanding early childhood education and for better preparing low-income high school students for state universities wrested substantial money in the compromise state budget, announced Thursday, that legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown have negotiated. The Legislature will vote next week on the $122 billion plan for the fiscal year starting July 1.
Although less than they wanted, members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus got a down payment on a half-billion dollar increase for child care and state-funded preschools over the next four years. By 2019-20, that will include ramping up to an additional 8,877 slots for full-day state preschool and increases in reimbursement rates for child-care providers to reflect increases in the state minimum wage. The first 2,969 preschool slots will open up in March 2017.
“This is going to be the biggest appropriation in a decade,” Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens,vice chairwoman of the Women’s Caucus, told the Los Angeles Times, referring to the increased costs in future years. “We’re trying to be progressive and think about the future.”
Source: Gov. Brown agrees to add money for child care, preschool in budget | EdSource
By Susan Winlow
The saga of the Fairfield-Suisun School District child care nursery, which is currently located at Sem Yeto High School, is over for the time being.
Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to move the service to Fairfield High School when Sem Yeto transitions over to that campus next school year while the former Dover site, its current location, is refurbished. The move is designed as a short-term situation.
The child care service, which district staff originally sought to eliminate, is a portion of two programs – the parenting program for parenting teens and the Career Technical Education Child Development program, which uses the nursery as a lab component.
via Child care service to move to Fairfield High School.
By Susan Winlow
Members of the Fairfield-Suiusn School District governing board will consider plans Thursday to salvage the district’s child care service for teen parents and move it from Sem Yeto High School to Fairfield High School.
The child care agenda item is a return topic, ready for a vote from the school board.
School staff initially sought to end the child care service portion of two programs – the parenting program for parenting teens and the Career Technical Education Child Development program, which uses the nursery as a lab component. Board members overwhelmingly disagreed and sent staff back to the drawing board to find a way to keep the child care service viable for both programs.
via Board to consider options to maintain on-campus child care program.
By Susan Winlow
Parenting students who use the district’s child care nursery in the Fairfield-Suisun School District could have a reprieve next year instead of facing the decision of what to do with their children while in school, or whether or not to even stay in school.
Governing board members, unsatisfied in March, sent district staff back to the drawing board because eliminating an at-school child care option for parenting teens wasn’t something they were prepared to do.
Satisfaction made members of the governing board smile Thursday as they heard from several members of a committee that formed to look at what could be done with the child care nursery, other than the prior proposed elimination when Sem Yeto moves to a wing of Fairfield High School next year.
via District staff recommends keeping baby nursery initially targeted for elimination Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
The child care nursery – a dual component of both the parenting program and the Childcare Career Technical Educational pathway at Sem Yeto High School – is back on the agenda Thursday at the Fairfield-Suisun School District board meeting after staff recommended at the March 26 meeting that it be discontinued to save money and reallocate human resources.
Board members told staff to come back with a plan for continuing the nursery next year, which serves as child care for student parents and a lab for the child care program students.
Sem Yeto is relocating to Fairfield High School next year and the district plans to close the Dover site for a year for repairs and possibly bring back a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school in 2016-17. Staff proposed to bring the child care program over to Fairfield High School, but not the nursery, and no solid plans for an alternative were forthcoming at the time.
via Fairfield-Suisun school board to review child care nursery options Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
Staff is looking for approval Thursday during the Fairfield-Suisun School District board meeting to relocate the Independent Study Program to the Sullivan Interagency Youth Services Center, move the Child Development Career Technical Education Pathway program to Fairfield High School and save some money by discontinuing the nursery/child care services associated with the child development program.
The Independent Study Program is currently located on the former Dover Middle School campus, along with Sem Yeto High School, and serves 53 students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
via District looks to discontinue nursery service for parenting teens Daily Republic.