The Early Childhood Policy Council (ECPC) met for the first time on Thursday, April 2nd via video conference. Governor Gavin Newsom announced creation of the ECPC and the Early Childhood Action Research Team in November 2019.
“Every child in our state should have the resources and support they need to live happy and healthy lives,” said Governor Newsom in a press release. “We are bringing together experts from diverse backgrounds to create a Master Plan for Early Learning and Care that will be rooted in lifting up California’s children and families today, tomorrow and into the future.”
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, California Surgeon General and ECPC Chair, opened the virtual meeting by providing a reminder on COVID-19 health precautions and announcing Governor Newsom’s $10 million investment in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) awareness and trauma-informed care training.
Kris Perry, Deputy Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) and ECPC member, outlined the Council’s purpose: to advise the Governor, California Legislature and State Superintendent of Public Instruction on early learning and care (ELC) policy; to prepare a formal annual report; and to provide recommendations on all aspects of the state’s early childhood system, including equity, accountability and review of the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care (MPELC).
Jannelle Kubinec, Carlise King and Mary Ignatius, all members of the Early Childhood Action Research Team, presented an update on the MPELC. The Master Plan is centered around three core values: equity, family-centered design, and providing support for caregivers. The MPELC will have a stakeholder process informed by parents.
The ECPC meeting was held virtually due to the Governor’s Shelter in Place order issued on March 19th. Over 430 people participated in the meeting via Zoom.
Two members of CCRC’s Government Relations team, Donna Sneeringer, Chief Strategy Officer, and Patrick MacFarlane, Government Relations Manager, were appointed to the Council by the Legislature last fall. Sneeringer and MacFarlane both participated in the virtual meeting. They raised the importance of supporting the child care needs of families in rural areas, low income families working nontraditional hours and Tribal communities, as well as supporting the needs of child care providers. Sneeringer and MacFarlane will each serve for a three-year term with the possibility of reappointment for a second and final term.
The ECPC will convene at least four times each year and meetings will be open to the public. The remaining 2020 meetings are set for June 8th, August 24th and November 16th.