Stage Set for Future Leaders to Deepen Commitment to Investments in Home Visiting, Early Care & Education
LOS ANGELES – Today, the California Legislature approved the $200 billion state budget proposal, including more than $1 billion to strengthen the systems of support for families and expand access to and improve the quality of early care and education programs for young children. First 5 LA, one of the state’s leading early childhood advocates, said the budget proposal is an important step toward prioritizing the critical needs of California’s families. Despite this progress, more steps need to be taken in future budget years to address the unmet needs of California’s youngest children.
“We are pleased to see an additional $1 billion directed to services, systems and supports for California’s youngest children and their families,” said Kim Belshé, executive director of First 5 LA, an independent public agency operating in L.A. County, where more than a third of the state’s young children under age 5 reside. “We appreciate the increased investments for children in the state budget. And, work remains to further prioritize young children. Our state leaders, especially our next Governor, will need to continue to build upon these initial investments to better support children and families from the earliest moments possible.”
“With 1 out of every 5 children in California living in poverty, legislative leadership needs to further prioritize young children and families.” -Kim Belshé
For the first time in California’s history, the state budget includes $158.5 million for a Home Visiting Initiative pilot program. This foundational investment for young children and families will improve both immediate and lifelong family and child outcomes including school readiness, child health, maternal health, positive parenting practices and reductions in child maltreatment.
The budget also makes a critical investment in CalWORKs (the state’s cash assistance program for low income Californians) to make sure no child in California lives in deep poverty. This inclusion will increase the minimum CalWORKs grant for families to at least 50 percent of the federal poverty level, defined as a household income of $12,550 for a family of four.
Additionally, the state budget outlines new investments in early learning, which will immediately improve access to early care and education opportunities for California’s families with young children. This $900 million increase will fund an additional 13,400 child care and 2,947 preschool slots statewide. Funding for increased reimbursement rates will support child care providers serving infants and toddlers. Additional new funding will also better support children identified with special needs.
“Legislative leaders deserve thanks for their pioneering efforts to expand access to high-quality family strengthening services through the Home Visiting Initiative,” Belshé concluded. “With 1 out of every 5 children in California living in poverty, legislative leadership needs to further prioritize young children and families.”
For a detailed breakdown of how the enacted FY2018-19 State Budget will impact families and young children, click here.
ABOUT THE STATE BUDGET PROCESS
The State Constitution requires the Governor submit a budget to the Legislature by January 10. Budget subcommittees in the State Assembly and State Senate will review the Governor’s proposed budget and begin to craft their versions of the annual spending plan.
The Legislature has the authority to approve, modify, or reject the Governor’s proposals, add new spending or make other changes that substantially revise the budget as proposed by the Governor. The Legislature typically waits for the May Revision budget update before final budget decisions are made on major programs such as Education, Corrections, and Health and Human Services.
The May Revision to the Governor’s Budget consists of an update to the Governor’s economic and revenue outlook and revises, supplements, or withdraws the policy initiatives included in the Governor’s budget proposal from January.
The Legislature must pass a budget bill for the upcoming fiscal year by midnight on June 15. The Governor has until June 30 to sign the budget bill into law.
ABOUT EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT IN CALIFORNIA
- 90 percent of brain development happens in the first five years of life
- California has nearly 1.5 million babies and toddlers, according to Kids Count Data, 2016
- According to a Choose Children 2018 survey, 87 percent of voters polled said the governor should prioritize early childhood education
- Fewer than 1 in 3 [28.5%] young children in California receive timely developmental screenings
- California ranks 40th in the nation in its efforts to support its youngest children
- In addition to preschool and child care, high-quality home visiting programs, like First 5 LA’s Welcome Baby program, can increase children’s school readiness, improve child health and development, reduce child abuse and neglect, and enhance parents’ abilities to support healthy cognitive, language, social-emotional, and physical development
- Parents with two children may pay nearly half their wages for child care in Los Angeles County, according to a March 2017 report that explores the resources and gaps in the early care and education system within the county.