SACRAMENTO—The California Legislature approved reinvestments for California’s critical safety net programs for early learning and CalWORKs support programs on Saturday as an important part of the state Budget. Reinvestments for child care and preschool programs will give working parents the ability to send their children to safe and stable early education programs. The Assembly, led by Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), fought for the $100 million child care funding increase to ensure parents do not have to choose between employment and caring for their families. Speaker Pérez also fought for the CalWORKS Child Poverty Adjustment as a companion to the Governor’s efforts to target school funding toward low income students – reducing child poverty is a key first step to improving chances of education success.
“It was obvious California needed to act swiftly on the issue of child care and early childhood education,” Speaker Pérez said. “It is harmful to the state if tens of thousands of parents cannot work because they have small children to take care of, and it is harmful to our future if kids grow up in an environment that will prevent them from becoming educated and healthy adults. It is unacceptable that our state has the worst-in-the-nation child poverty rates, and it’s time we invest in every child of our state to ensure a better future for California.”
The funding for child care will go toward working families and tax payers who are either preparing for employment or also working and on assistance or those who are employed full-time and off assistance but cannot afford child care for their children.
In California, one in five children live in poverty. These children are less likely to do well in school throughout their lives, which results from growing up without the resources to help them develop emotionally and physically. Poverty increases the likelihood of dropping out of high school, becoming unemployed as adults and suffering from health issues such as heart disease, obesity, substance abuse problems and mental illnesses.
The Assembly chose to strategically target children between the crucial cognitive development ages of 0 and 5, ensuring they are in a safe and nurturing environment to develop their emotional well-being and better their chances of success when they reach kindergarten.
Speaker Pérez has been a champion of early childhood education for many years. After then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed funding for CalWORKS Stage 3 child care, Speaker Pérez worked with Local First 5 and other organizations to provide bridge support and allocated $6 million in Assembly funds to Stage 3 child care programs during the 2010-11 session, affecting 81,000 children and 60,000 families. The Assembly contributed an additional $11 million from the 2011-12 session and $10 million earlier this year to provide bridge support during the budget crisis.
CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408
Website of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker