The state budget is the most important legislation affecting child care each year. The number of families who get child care assistance, payment rates for child care providers and programs, and related expenses are all decided through the state budget legislation.
Governor Newsom announced his proposed 2023-2024 budget on January 10, 2023. Governor Newsom builds on our past progress in child care spaces and payment rates with these proposals:
- Reformed payment structure for child care providers that builds on child care community recommendations and the agreement with Child Care Providers United to create a “single rate structure”
- Maintain funding to support a total of 200,000 new child care spaces promised in the 2021-22 budget
- Continued funding to support 146,500 new child care spaces added over the past three years, with adjustments for those spaces that haven’t yet been filled.
- Commitment to funding a total of 200,000 new spaces by 2024-2025
- Cost-of-Living adjustment (COLA) increase to 8.13% for child care and development programs
Reformed Payment Structure
Two recent reports seek to reform current payment rates to providers with a “single rate structure” which takes into account the true cost of care and seeks to undo historical inequities.
In his proposed budget, Governor Newsom pledges to rely on the approach set forth in the stakeholder workgroup recommendations of August 2022. Governor Newsom also referred to the agreements with Child Care Providers United, which represents child care providers who contract with the state to care for children with subsidies.
Additional Child Care Spaces
In 2021-22 and 2022-23, the Legislature and Governor agreed to fund additional child care spaces. This year’s budget proposal makes allowances for the newer spaces which have not yet been enrolled, and pledges spending for additional 53,500 spaces over the next two years.
What was left out – Child Care Fees
California can afford to fully fund child care – without additional fees – for families with low incomes. Instead, the state relies on collecting child care fees paid by families in the subsidy programs – those who can least afford it.
To reform the child care fee policy, one that is rooted in a legacy of racism, Governor Newsom and the Legislature must include funds in the budget for equitable child care fee policy.
The Governor’s Budget proposal takes significant steps forward. But for generations, policymakers have underfunded child care. The impact on women, Black women, immigrant women and women of color is disproportionately negative. To create a truly equitable child care program for Californians, the Governor and the Legislature must decide a final budget that addresses systemic inequities in child care policy.
The following links provide additional information.
JLMC Report of 11.14.22, Nov. 14, 2022