California’s 2017-18 legislative session is now in full swing in Sacramento. Each January, new legislation is proposed and, as in the past few years, there is significant legislative interest in child care and early learning programs. Over 20 proposals addressing a wide array of issues, including family eligibility, funding, local flexibility, and specific technical issues relating to program administration, were introduced this year.
As in past years, CCRC’s Board of Directors reviewed these proposals and decided to take support positions on four pieces of legislation designed to improve the child care system in California.
The supported bills are:
AB60 (Santiago and Gonzalez Fletcher) – This bill would establish initial or ongoing eligibility of not less than 12 months for subsidized child care, except as provided, and also eliminates time limits on Child Protective Services (CPS) and “at risk”. It would also increase the income eligibility level for services (State Median Income – SMI) to the current market level. The SMI has been frozen at levels from 2005.
AB273 (Aguiar-Curry) – This bill would add English as a Second Language and High School Equivalency certification prep courses to existing eligibility requirements for subsidized child care.
AB1164 (Thurmond) – This bill would establish the Emergency Child Care Bridge with annualized funding of $22 million for foster children who require child care while foster families are engaged in work and other qualified activities. Payment can be made directly to the foster family or through vouchers to child care providers. Resource & Referral programs would be funded at $5 million annually for required navigation services to assist in creating a long term child care plan, and it would allocate an additional $4 million for trauma informed care training for child care providers.
SB78 (Leyva) – This bill would appropriate $99 million in additional funding to California Department of Education for the After-School Education and Safety (ASES) Program as a result of the minimum wage increase. It requires the Department of Finance to adjust the program funding annually as the minimum wage increases using a specified calculation.
Each of these bills was successfully passed through its initial Policy Committee, and now moves forward for consideration of costs in the Appropriations Committee. The legislative process will continue through the summer.