We are only a few weeks into the 2018-2019 fiscal year and have received a signed budget from Governor Brown. It is very disappointing for me to report that after tireless and instrumental hours of committed work towards the #Billion4Babies campaign our ask was not met. We are not giving up, and this challenge fuels my drive and that of my colleagues as well.
On a positive note, I am pleased to report the following funds were allocated to the Early Childhood Education (ECE) community, which is the 2nd largest area of new investment in the overall California budget:
- Funding will increase for CalWORKs Stages 2 and 3 to reflect the caseload and rate increases.
- A new Home Visiting program for CalWORKs families will be funded and implemented.
- The Foster Care Child Care Bridge Program will be fully funded.
- State and Federal funding will be used to expand the Alternative Payment (AP) Program to create 13,407 new AP slots over the next 4 years.
- A one-time investment will be made in the Child Care Initiative Project for family child care recruitment.
- The Infant/Toddler and Special Needs Rates for Standard Reimbursement Rate (SRR) contracted programs will increase.
In other news, a recent report indicates that less than 20% of eligible children have access to child care, and we still have work to do. We will continue to fight for the 80% of children and families who desperately need subsidized child care. That is why this year’s election is so important. We need to advocate on behalf of providers and families and educate the new administration about critical child care needs.
Lastly, as a father and a member of the Early Care and Education field for over 40 years, I can’t help but think about the impact on children and families who are affected by the “Zero Tolerance” policy at the U.S.-Mexico border. In the last two months, over 2,000 children were involuntary taken away from their parents. While there have been new measures taken to reunite some of the children with their parents, the extent of destruction this policy has caused on children is unprecedented.
If your children have seen the news or heard adults discussing family separation, they might be feeling anxious or confused. I highly suggest you visit our recent blog post, Talking to Kids About Traumatic Events With Tips and Videos. Here are a few additional resources to help you address these difficult subjects:
- Sesame Street Community offers parents and their children the support they need with webinars and activities on variety topics including, handling trauma, bullying and copping with separation.
- Visit Colorin Colorado for a list of resources for educators including classroom activities, study guides and how to support immigrant children.
- Check out the latest title from The Mother Company, A Little Book About Feelings by Abbie Schiller and Sam Kurtzman-Counter.