"Children Learning, Parents Earning, Communities Growing"
June 1, 2021 | Issue #22
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June 2021 Featured Agency Highlight
Children's Home Society of CA
Community based public and private Alternative Payment Programs (APPs) support the needs of working moms and dads with access to child care and other supports earmarked to lift families up from poverty. During the pandemic, these programs have distributed emergency essential worker child care vouchers, family child care and center stipends & PPE, diapers, food and clothing. Throughout California, these APPs may also support parental choice to CalWORKs Stages 2 & 3, preschool and center-based programs, general child care, After School Education and Safety (ASES), Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Family Child Care Home Education Networks (FCCHENs), transportation, behavioral & mental health services, respite, regional centers, health and safety, 21st Century, resource libraries, and Trustline.

Below is an informational highlight from Children's Home Society of CA supporting the needs of family child care providers and families in their community. See their entire parent newsletter here and provider newsletter here.
 How is your agency staying connected to your families and providers? Let us know!
Is anyone thinking about how to implement budget proposals

by Denyne Colburn, CEO of CAPPA. Last week, both the Assembly Budget Subcommittee 2 and Senate Subcommittee 1 put forward recommendations to increase access to child care slots by proposing to add 100,000 more (200,000 total), waiving family fees, pursuing rate reform and investing in the workforce. For advocates, after years and years of child care being receiving not much more than lip service, appreciation is an understatement.

However, very shortly for the community based public and private nonprofits that support all of the above, our appreciation has shifted to concern. Why concern?

The concern comes from a place of reality. The reality is, community based agencies that support our lowest income families with support to child care and other social services too have been forgotten for years. The family child care rates that have not been increased for child care providers since 2016, serve as the framework for reimbursement to community based agencies. Community based agencies that too stayed open during the pandemic to make sure essential workers were enrolled and connected to child care are again being left behind in California's unprecedented $75 billion surplus year.

So come July 1 where hopefully at least 200,000 more child care slots are provided for our lowest income families to access, there will be no way for families to do so. The reason? At 200,000 more slots, this number will require community based agencies to nearly triple their staff. Currently, there is no money to do so. There is no planning for these community agencies to hire and train family caseworkers and enrollment specialists to meet with the new enrollments. There is not the existing space capacity for families to come in the doors to receive support. Most important of all, these existing community partners have had no meaningful increases in operational funding since 2007, their current funding is based on 2016 family child care rates, they are prohibited from providing signing bonuses to hire new staff or stipends for seasoned staff and they cannot compete with the counties that provide lucrative retirement and benefit packages.

In addition to the above, based on historical data of when actual budget monies are received by the field, new monies and child care slots have not been received before October. If the community nonprofits have to wait until October to know how many slots they will be funded or if there will be real funding to allow for these public and private nonprofit businesses to begin expanding their office spaces and hiring staff, the process may easily take another three to six months. Said another way, for FY 2021-22, families may not be be able to access one of the new 100,000 - 200,000 child care slots until April of 2022.

There is less than a month to enact a meaningful budget that lifts up the most fragile amongst us. Access to child care is integral to a parent being able to go to work, put food on the table and support the needs of babies and children. It is crucial that however many new child care slots are funded, that every county has the capacity to enroll families. Minus real funding to prepare for enrolling the new families, our lowest incomed families could again be left behind.