LOS ANGELES – First 5 LA Executive Director Kim Belshé today commended Governor Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders for enacting a strong budget that reflects a comprehensive commitment to California’s young children and families.
“Governor Newsom and the Legislature have crafted a comprehensive approach to start meeting the critical needs of California’s youngest children. With budget commitments to family strengthening services through home visiting, developmental and trauma screenings, as well as investments to strengthen California’s early learning system, Governor Newsom, Speaker Rendon and Senate Pro Tem Atkins deserve credit for creating a strong foundation for our state’s future.”
Belshé added that the governor is recognizing the needs of parents attending California state universities through much needed grants for child care, and he is smartly using a significant portion of Proposition 64 prevention funding toward early childhood programs: “Meeting the needs of California’s youngest residents requires a long-term, multi-year commitment, and identifying multiple funding sources that support important prevention programs like home visiting and early learning is crucial.”
“We look forward to continuing our work with the governor and legislative leaders to advance this progress,” said Belshé. “Continuing to prioritize young children in policy and budget decisions benefits every Californian.”
Below are highlights of early childhood priorities in the final budget proposal:
- More than $135 million to expand the California Home Visiting Program and CalWORKs Home Visiting Initiative, programs that help build strong families and promote optimal child development at the earliest moments possible; and $348 million to increase CalWORKs grants to ensure no family receiving cash aid in California lives in deep poverty.
- Bolstering funding to expand the Black Infant Health (BIH) Program through $7.5 million in general funds, with an additional $12 million in Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) reimbursements for Medi-Cal eligible activities in the BIH and the California Perinatal Equity Initiative to continue combating the black infant mortality crisis.
- Expanding paid family leave from six to eight weeks, beginning July 1, 2020, with the goal of providing a 90 percent wage replacement rate and reduce the reserve requirement for the Disability Insurance Fund from 45 percent to 30 percent.
- Expanding anti-poverty programs, by increasing the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) from $400 million to approximately $1.2 billion and providing additional direct cash aid to help families meet basic needs through the CalWORKs Grants program.
Child Health and Development
- The budget includes $95 million to increase reimbursement rates for developmental and trauma screenings to make sure more children are identified early for delays and exposure to potential trauma, with an additional $50 million for provider training to effectively conduct trauma screenings.
Quality Early Learning
- Expanding access to early learning opportunities for California’s neediest families by funding more than 22,000 child care and preschool spaces, with a commitment to further expanding access in future fiscal years.