January 18, 2022

Network’s Response to the Governor’s Proposed FY 22-23 Budget

In the last few years since Governor Newsom was elected, we noted a marked change in priorities and celebrated each January with proposed investments to California's early care and education system. At the Network, we were warmed by the alignment of our values: the importance of supporting families-both those who need care and those who provide care. This has been most evident through the pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic, Governor Newsom and the Legislature have made it much easier for child care providers and families to provide and access child care by removing unnecessary barriers. Child care providers who are paid by the state, have been paid based on their enrollment instead of attendance, just like private pay child care providers. Families have been unburdened from family fees, allowing them to more easily afford things that they need, like food or utilities. On June 30th of this year both of those policies expire. At the unveiling of his proposed FY 22-23 budget, we were highly disappointed that the Governor gave no indication of his intent to continue these family friendly policies. This is in contrast to his previous stance, though the remainder of his budget proposal leaves no doubt we are still deeply steeped in the middle of the pandemic.

Furthermore, it seems we are back to the times when California is bifurcating the needs of families, primarily supporting the care and education of 4 year olds, with this budget providing no new support for our youngest children. A child’s life does not begin at 4, nor does their learning or need for care. Families and children should not have to wait until they are 4 for our state to demonstrate concern for their care and education.

We are in an era when we need leadership to take courageous actions that focus on supporting people, not creating obstacles for them to receive the support and services they need. A strong early care and education system will be necessary to meet the needs of families in a rebounding economy. Governor Newsom said this budget reflects the state’s priorities. Our priorities, then, are incomplete. With women struggling to keep their families whole and maintain their careers, leaving child care out of the mix is more than an unfortunate misstep. It means we will begin a path of being non-responsive to one of the most important links to making sure families are whole and children are thriving.

We are eager to work with our Legislative champions to secure the child care investments needed to ensure California’s children and families are able to access the child care they need, love and deserve.