Kim Belshé | First 5 LA Executive Director

July 1, 2022

Today, the First 5 Network thanks Governor Newsom and the Legislature for adopting the 2022-23 state budget that provides critical investments in behavioral and mental health, children’s health, early literacy, and reproductive rights.

As we look beyond this year, we will need to urgently address the challenges that plague the child care and early learning system, which faces historic inflation, depreciated wages and compensation, and a workforce crisis. As access to services continues to be an issue for working families, it is important to advocate that rich early learning experiences empower young children to thrive.

First 5 LA executive director, Kim Belshé provides the following statement:

“Governor Newsom and state legislators have worked to be responsive to the immediate needs created by the pandemic, however too many families remain in crisis. Despite California experiencing a second consecutive year of record budget surpluses and spending, the cost of necessities like food and gas are increasing rapidly, and COVID-19 continues to disrupt our lives and threaten our health. With a strong focus on addressing the needs of families now, we thank the governor and lawmakers for a state budget that prioritizes investments in the health and well-being of our youngest children. By continuing to increase child care spaces, waive family fees, and hold harmless policies for providers, state leaders are helping to make vital early learning resources more accessible to and affordable for families.

However, we must also acknowledge the importance of addressing the outdated and inadequate reimbursement provider rates and are hopeful state leaders will continue talks on providing adequate living wages for child care providers. Low wages are one of the main reasons providers are leaving child care and not re-entering the profession. If policymakers fail to address low and inequitable rates for all child care providers, the early learning field will be further weakened and child outcomes compromised.

The budget also makes significant, on-going investments to expand the California Home Visiting Program, connecting more families, especially those facing a variety of challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, with home visitors who serve as a critical link of support. Family supports such as home visiting are more important now than ever. Alongside our partners, First 5 LA continues to demonstrate the value of home visiting services for tens of thousands of LA County residents, using our learning to inform broader policy change. First 5 LA applauds Governor Newsom and lawmakers for their vision to make California a national leader in home visiting, and even if the state faces economic headwinds or spending constraints in the near future, we must protect and further expand these programs. There is no better investment we can make than in the stability and success of California families.”

To read the First 5 Network press release on the 2022-23 State Budget, click here.