Public Policy Platform

California Child Care Coordinators Association

Public Policy Platform
First Year of the 2021-22 Legislative Sessio

Early care and education (ECE) contributes to children’s overall healthy growth and development, strengthens families, and supports working families. In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic created significant upheaval as public health officials and government leaders quickly maneuvered to ensure the health and safety of its residents while tending to individuals infected by the disease. From the beginning, early care and education was elevated as critical to serving health care professionals, first responders and other essential workers as well as the long-term recovery of local communities. While some programs temporarily closed their doors due to shelter in place orders, many remained open, most of which were family child care homes. As centers and family child care home providers continued to serve families or prepared to re-open to serve essential workers, the need for additional resources quickly became apparent. Programs need financial and other supports to meet public health guidance such as that related to cleaning and disinfecting, limiting groups of children to maintain physical distancing, and spending more time outdoors. Schools remaining closed for distance learning have also magnified pressures on programs to support young children in new ways.

Notably, the early care and education system was fragile prior to the onset of the pandemic as public funds and/or family fees have not met the cost of operating quality early care and education programs. Advocacy efforts to reform the currently complicated dual reimbursement rate system and, more importantly, raise reimbursement rates have been ongoing. Impacted by reimbursement rates and the market is compensation of the workforce comparable to education and experience, primarily comprised of older women and women of color who are now risking their health in service to children and families needing access to early care and education services during the public health crisis. As such, early care and education is at a critical juncture as demands on the field have altered considerably.

The importance of Local Child Care and Development Planning Councils (LPCs) across the state has been magnified in these crises – coordinating across their counties and mixed delivery systems to leverage information and resources to support the field as it struggles to maintain and build its capacity to provide early care and education services to its local communities. LPCs already offer a public forum to hear issues that matter most to the field and galvanize a coordinated response by engaging early educators, parents, community-based and public agencies, institutions of higher education, philanthropy, and resource and referral agencies with policy makers and other local partners to strategize response and action plans.

he California Child Care Coordinators Association (CCCCA) is committed to the best outcomes for and overall well-being of children from birth to 13 years old and their families by ensuring that all families have access to high quality early care and education and school age programs that include:

 Developmentally appropriate curriculum
 Inclusive environments conducive to learning and development
 Family engagement and partnership
 Meaningful connections to comprehensive services
 Cultural and linguistic appropriateness and embracing diversity
 Early identification and intervention processes
 Continuous quality improvement
 Access to a strong statewide infrastructure and local coordination of services
 Emergency responses to public health crises and other emergencies

In order to create and support a quality early care and education system, the CCCCA advocates for the following issues:

Streamlined and Efficient Administrative Systems within the California Department of Education/Early Learning and Care Division and California Department of Social Services. CCCCA supports proposals that –

 Provide increased resources for local early care and education services and infrastructure, including additional funding for Local Child Care and Development Planning Councils (LPCs) to meet the LPC legislative mandates as outlined in Education Code, Chapter 2.3, Article 1, Section 8499 and Article 2, Sections 8499.3, 8499.5 and 8499.7 and the increased need for the coordination of new strategies and additional funding streams at the local level;
 Preserve local flexibility and decision-making within counties regarding determining where LPC staffing and administration are located;
 Make further investments that support the ongoing efforts of LPCs in the collection, analysis and sharing of data that informs state and local legislators, key stakeholders and early care and education partners throughout the state of California;
 Revise the current methodology used to determine priority zip codes for each county and allow LPCs the flexibility to rank local priorities based on the most current and accurate data available;
 Integrate the LPCs as key partners in the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care that through their specified membership address the whole child within the context of the family and the community and supports links to the TK-12 system and if adequately funded can increase their capacity to leverage local resources for programs serving children birth through age 12;
 Create a well-financed and coordinated system of regulatory compliance and contracting processes, including the use of electronic signatures and data collection;
 Build a streamlined single subsidy reimbursement system reflecting the actual current cost of providing high quality care inclusive of compensating the workforce comparable to education and experience;
 Advocate for state and federal budget and policy determinations that result in protected, sustained, and increased funding sources for early care and education services;
 Restore funding for all early care and education programs as part of the educational continuum;
 Coordinate across state and county agencies to support an array of comprehensive services comprised of physical and mental health, prevention and early intervention, TK-12 and higher education, community and economic development, family support, food/nutrition, social services and recreation activities; and
 Ensure streamlined data collection systems that provide opportunities to understand the needs of children and their families and the impact of the services they access.

A robust licensing system to ensure that children are cared for in safe and healthy environments. CCCCA supports proposals that –

 Build a sufficiently funded, appropriately staffed, and supportive Community Care Licensing system that supports prospective and operating early care and education programs;
 Make available technical assistance and resources to existing and potential licensed programs and providers that support quality;
 Ensure annual inspections of licensed centers and family child care homes; and
 Prioritize intra-departmental coordination between licensing and the administration of early care and education programs shifted from the California Department of Education to the California Department of Social Services.

A highly qualified workforce responsible for the care and education of our diverse populations of children that engages parents as partners in their children’s optimal growth and development. CCCCA supports proposals that –

 Recruit, retain and support a diverse, trained, educated, and equitably compensated early care and education professional workforce;
 Advocate for compensation levels comparable to education attainment and experience;
 Create access to high quality, coordinated educational and professional development systems that address cultural, linguistic, and literacy needs on a continuum from entry-level through degree attainment;
 Provide ongoing professional development opportunities, including coaching and mentoring; and
 Engage the LPCs as the lead agencies for coordinating funding and partnerships to develop and implement strategies that support and enhance the professional development and education of the workforce.

Investments and strategies that increase the availability, accessibility and affordability of high- quality early care and education services for all children. CCCCA supports proposals that –

 Ensure a diverse delivery system inclusive of funding in both the public and private sectors;
 Provide adequate funding to serve all eligible children from low-income families in need of subsidized early care and education services regardless of immigration status;
 Ensure family eligibility that promotes continuity of care and assistance for children and families;
 Update family entry and exit income eligibility levels annually to the most current California State Median Income (SMI) for access to subsidized early care and education programs;
 Ensure a fair and reasonable family fee schedule updated annually;
 Create opportunities for LPCs and California Department of Education (CDE) contractors to provide feedback regarding family need and eligibility requirements outlined in chapter 19 and 19.5 of the Title 5 regulations, including revisions, additions and deletions of regulations;
 Increase investments for infant and toddler care and other high need populations;
 Assure access for unique populations of children and their families, including dual language learners, children at risk and/or with special developmental and health care needs, children experiencing homelessness, children under the supervision of the child welfare system, and children of teen parents; and
 Raise reimbursement rates to levels that meet the true cost of operating quality programs (centers and family child care homes) by region.

Development of high-quality learning environments and facilities that fully address the demand for early care and education services. CCCCA supports proposals that –

 Promote broad representation of center and family child care home participation in Quality Counts California (QCC) quality improvement efforts that encompass a diversity of modalities (i.e. coaching/mentoring, trainings/workshops, and more);
 Provide technical assistance, professional development, training and coaching that remove barriers and support quality improvement in centers and family child care homes;
 Advocate for increased state and local funding to grow and sustain quality improvement implementation;
 Recommend inclusive environments for all children within a mixed delivery system (e.g. center- based, public/private, community-based, school districts, family child care homes, etc.);

 Ensure programs serving school age children receive the necessary supports to improve the quality of their services;
 Provide state and local resources to equitably improve and expand public and private capital resources and technical expertise to develop, finance, and maintain new and existing high-quality facilities;
 Award funding for construction or renovation of facilities in communities with unmet needs for early care and education service; and
 Promote new policies and policy amendments that support the development of early care and education facilities, including the integration of early care and education in land use, housing, transportation, and economic, workforce and community development.

Emergency response system focused on preparedness, responsiveness and recovery. The CCCCA supports proposals that –

 Augment funding to the LPCs to serve as conveners of local partners for disaster preparedness, response and recovery, including the coordination of leveraging and distributing resources during disasters, such as public health crises, wildfires, and earthquakes, among others;
 Ensure needed resources – concrete and financial – are readily available to meet the needs of families and the centers and family child care homes that serve them; and
 Involve the LPCs in shaping, developing and informing state disaster and infrastructure development and communications such as guidance and the availability of resources.

California Child Care Coordinators Association Public Policy Platform – First Year of the 2021-22 Legislative Session Approved – September 24, 2020

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