For many working families, access to quality child care has become an unattainable privilege, leaving parents with a difficult decision: Do they work to support their family, or stay at home to care for their kids?
This dilemma is being faced by more and more California parents, struggling to cobble together whatever child care they can find. This is unacceptable, which is why I authored Assembly Bill 2292 and will be holding a rally with child care advocates and parents on Tuesday.
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This bill would expand our state’s child care capacity by increasing the rates paid to providers for infant and toddler care, offering grants to help pay for new and renovated day care facilities, and establishing a fund to recruit and train a new generation of providers.
In addition to AB 2292, I am a proud supporter of the Legislative Women’s Caucus budget request for “$1 billion for babies.” This is not just a catchy phrase. From birth through age three is when families struggle the most to find child care, when care is the most expensive and where the state has lagged in reinvestment since the devastating budget cuts during The Great Recession. It is also the time when the “wiring” is set for every child’s brain for the rest of their lives.
We should be doing everything in our power to help children and their parents thrive. The choice seems pretty simple to me: support working families and those trying to move into the workplace by providing more child care options -- or let these children down and instead support their families through the social safety net.
I am working diligently with my legislative colleagues and the governor to pass AB 2292 and the corresponding budget funding. We have an incredible opportunity during this time of economic recovery to make an investment in the next generation of children. We cannot miss it.