California Budget Child Care

Patricia Moran gets a hug from one of the children at her child care facility in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(The Center Square) - California Senate Democrats released on April 26 a detailed budget proposal which has Child Care Providers United cheering. CCPU represents 40,000 child care providers in the state. The “Protect Our Progress” Budget Plan provides a starting point for negotiations with the Assembly and the administration.

“The Senate’s proposal is an essential starting point – far greater funding than was included in the Governor’s January budget proposal – but to meet the true cost of care, even greater funding is needed. This is an investment the state cannot afford to delay,” Deborah Corley-Marzett, a child care provider in Kern County and member of CCPU’s Negotiations team said.

Among some of the proposed changes to the governor’s budget for human services is a key new senate proposal to address staffing challenges experienced by local educational agencies. The senate proposes moving toward a child care rate reform by increasing rates to support and stabilize child care providers, including providers of State Preschool programs.

The “Protect Our Progress” Budget Plan provides $800 million in new funds, which, along with other diverted funds and federal funds, will provide over $1 billion to increase Child Care rates.

“We are pleased to see Senate Democrats continue building on this progress in their budget proposal. Addressing onerous fees families pay when a child stays home sick is the right thing to do for working parents already squeezed by soaring costs of living,” Corley-Marzett pointed out.

The proposed changes overhauls the current child care family fee structure, including for State Preschool programs, to prevent low-income families from losing access to child care because they cannot afford fees,” Corley-Marzett stated.

The CCPU is leaning on the P5 Fiscal Strategies model for California Cost of Quality Study to change the way child care subsidy reimbursement rates are calculated, moving away from market driven rates to a cost-based approach.

Corley-Marzett emphasized, “California child care providers are particularly glad that the Senate has called for the state to commit to paying providers for their full cost of providing care, a significant relief for a women-of color led workforce that has long struggled to survive on rates that meet just 25-30% of their current costs to provide quality child care.” 

As Senate Democrats begin their negotiations and make proposals of their own through this budget, CCPU is urging the governor to increase subsidies for child care providers.

“As providers continue to negotiate our new contract with the State, we will call on Governor Newsom to meet the urgency of the Senate’s proposal on significantly increasing reimbursement rates and stabilizing providers and families with regards to family fees, and make the retirement investments he promised providers in 2022.