Our communities are stronger when every family has the child care they need. For too long, women of color have shouldered the expenses of the state child care system. Their health and well-being—and their families’—have suffered as a result. Thanks to the leadership of Parent Voices, Child Care Providers United, and key advocates, the State Budget this year will begin to right these wrongs.
Child care funding decisions affect all of us, from the families who depend on it, to providers who nurture the next generation, to the children who learn and grow every day.
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.
California’s child care shortage is dire. A key requirement for a provider to open a large family child care home is to pass a fire inspection. Safety is critical, but the inspection process has historically been onerous and expensive, with requirements that did not impact safety. “It’s a huge financial burden on family child cares,” one provider said.
Nancy Wyatt opened her San Fernando Valley-based family child care in 1985. Since then, she has provided care for hundreds of families. Throughout her career, Nancy knew she could reach out to Child Care Law Center when she needed us.
When Dr. LaWanda Wesley was raising her five children, juggling work, college, rent, and expensive fees for child care meant ever-present stress. LaWanda was part of California’s subsidized child care program. Her child care should have been free. But the state surprised her and other families with child care family fees. When fees were due, LaWanda would think, “I need to pay for gas, and the kids need school clothes and new shoes. How do you pay for it all?”