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California’s Newest Legislation Prioritizes Children and Families

First 5 LA applauds the Legislature and the Governor for making kids a priority in the state budget and for passing important measures that will benefit children, parents and caregivers alike.  

In June, the final budget signed by Governor Brown fulfilled a promise to restore funding for early care and education opportunities for children in California. It expanded and updated subsidized early care and education program eligibility requirements to better meet the needs of low-income working families, and developed much-needed emergency child care and navigation support for foster families.  

“California is showing the way — on kids, on families, on women and husbands as well.” -Jerry Brown

As the 2017 state legislative session concluded, we thank legislators and Governor Brown for taking a “parent’s approach to policy:” championing and prioritizing the needs of California’s children and families.

Several important bills actively supported by First 5 LA were signed into law by the Governor:

  • Senate Bill 63 (Hannah-Beth Jackson) expands new parent leave protections to an additional 2.7 million Californians working for small businesses. Job-protected leave for new parents was previously only available to those who work for an organization with 50 or more employees. SB 63 extends that protection to organizations with 20 or more employees.
  • Assembly Bill 752 (Blanca Rubio) prohibits early care and education providers receiving state subsidies from expelling a child from their programs unless the provider has documented and explored other options for maintaining the child’s safe protection in the program. Three and 4 year olds are expelled 3.2 times more often than K-12 students, with rates significantly higher for African American children. This policy is modeled after federal Head Start standards.
  • Assembly Bill 1520 (Autumn Burke) establishes the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force to develop a comprehensive plan for the state to fund data-driven programs which would significantly reduce California’s child poverty rate.
  • Assembly Bill 1340 (Brian Maienschein) requires the Medical Board of California to consider including courses related to integrating mental and physical health to their continuing education requirements for physicians, with a particular focus on early identification of mental health issues and exposure to trauma in young children

In a recent Los Angeles Times article, Governor Brown touted the new laws as “California is showing the way — on kids, on families, on women and husbands as well.”

We celebrate this work and also look forward to the exciting work ahead. As advocates for young children, our collective efforts aim to transform lives: together we have influenced high-impact, meaningful policy change this year, allowing greater numbers of children in L.A. and throughout the state to be better prepared for kindergarten and life. As we build upon these wins together, we continue to remind legislators and fellow child champions that the success of L.A. County depends on the success of its children: we begin building that success today.

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