The Assembly Speaker, Anthony Rendon, has convened the first meeting of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood.
Here’s the summary from the First 5 Association:
Blue Ribbon Commission’s First Hearing
The Speaker-appointed Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education held their first hearing in Sacramento yesterday. The first hearing provided a platform for the commissioners, both Assemblymembers and child care experts, to introduce themselves and offer what they hoped to discuss and tackle as a commission.
Notably, many commissioners discussed the importance of studying issues facing infant-toddler-, preschool-, and school-aged students, along with workforce concerns. Additionally, many acknowledged that the system is widely under-resourced. As such, the commission is also tasked with discussing funding sources to support recommended changes.
Three speakers helped set the stage and provide a historical overview of child care systems in California and the many state and federal funding streams. Speakers included: Erin Gabel, Deputy Director External Affairs, First 5 California Donna Sneeringer, Policy Director, Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles Rowena Kamo, Research Director, CA Child Care Resource & Referral Network
First Blue Ribbon Commission hearing held in Sacramento on March 6th
All three speakers discussed how child care funding remains 20 percent below pre-recession levels, which has impacted all providers. Rowena Kamo highlighted the dramatic impact of budget cuts have had on family child care providers. Erin Gabel discussed the school-side of child care and relayed that the system, while complex, was designed to address the diversity of parent’s needs and meet the dual workforce and child development goals. Donna Sneeringer focused on the voucher-side of child care and discussed how Alternative Payment Programs provide the needed flexibility to meet the needs of families with non-traditional and unpredictable work schedules. She also discussed the complex reimbursement structure through the Standard Reimbursement Rate (SRR) and Regional Market Rate (RMR) and encouraged commissioners to address the discrepancies between these two structures.
Handouts from the presentation are available here. The hearing’s full agenda is available here. The next meeting has not been announced, but the Association is monitoring the hearings and will be meeting with many of members of the commission.
Advocacy Committee Votes to Support Legislation
The Advocacy Committee met on February 22nd to take positions on bills.
Please remember that it is still early in the legislative process and the Advocacy Committee will be voting on additional bills in the coming months. If you would like to recommend that the Association take a position on a specific bill, please contact Margot.
Most notably, the Association the voted to support AB 60 (Santiago/ Gonzalez Fletcher), legislation that will update the State’s Median Incomes (SMI) level to current date and provide continuous 12 month child care eligibility for families. This legislation is the same as last year’s AB 2150 and is a top priority in the child care field. The Association submitted a support letter and we encourage other commissions to do the same. The bill will be heard in the Assembly Human Services Committee today.