SACRAMENTO – Today, Governor Jerry Brown released his proposed budget, the starting point for months of budget discussions. Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, and Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), vice-chair, released the following statement:
“The Legislative Women’s Caucus remains committed to ensuring all families have access to safe, reliable and quality early care and education so parents can work and children can learn,” said Jackson. “I appreciate that the Governor has proposed funding for early care and education programs in his proposed budget that exceeds what he proposed last year – but it is still not sufficient to meet the needs of California’s workforce and our children in their critical early learning years. As the budget moves forward in the process, the Legislative Women’s Caucus remains committed to pursuing additional funding for state child care programs, so we can ensure that our youngest learners have a foundation for academic success and parents can continuing working toward a stronger economic future for themselves, their children, and our state.”
“This year, the Legislative Women’s Caucus will continue to prioritize a strong early care and education system for California that benefits our workforce and our youngest learners,” said Garcia. “When parents cannot find or afford child care, the economy loses out on valued workers. Parents risk piecing together care that does not meet a child’s needs, or being forced out of the job market. Children, our future workforce, miss opportunities to learn. A significant investment in early education that starts at birth isn't simply an investment in children, it is an investment in families and an investment in our future workforce. “
Over the past two years, the Women’s Caucus has helped restore more than $500 million into child care and preschool programs, reinstating child care and preschool for more than 45,000 children. Yet even with last year’s additional money and record increases in Proposition 98 funding, the state offered 50,000 fewer child care slots than it did in 2008-09. Even before the recession hit, California had approximately 200,000 children on waiting lists. Now, that need is estimated at close to 300,000.