SACRAMENTO, CA (STL.News) In a video conference joined by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus including Chair Assemblymember Cristina Garcia and Vice Chair Senator Nancy Skinner, and child care stakeholders and providers, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed legislation that adds thousands of new child care slots to expand access for working families and increases child care and preschool provider rates, among other supports.
AB 131, the child care budget trailer bill, will phase in 200,000 new child care slots by 2025-26, dramatically expanding access to child care for families. Over 145,000 new child care slots will be added by 2022-23.
“I’m proud to sign this legislation lifting up women and working families while supporting our dedicated early childhood professionals,” said Governor Newsom. “With 200,000 new child care slots to help meet the needs of parents as they balance the demands of work with raising a family, and increased compensation and supports for child care and preschool providers, this package will help reinvigorate our essential care economy and invests in the health and well-being of families across the state.”
Under the legislation, child care and preschool providers around the state will receive significant rate increases, reflecting the agreement reached between the state and Child Care Providers United, which represents 40,000 family child care providers. This is the first collective bargaining agreement between the state and the new union after the Governor in 2019 signed AB 378 – legislation by current Senator Monique Lim?n that was championed by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins and other child care advocates in the Legislature – to give child care workers the right to join a union and collectively bargain with the state. It also provides $40 million one-time to help address workforce needs including education, training and professional development for family child care providers.
AB 131 includes $579 million for additional support to child care and preschool providers, including stabilization stipends, to ensure more can continue operating in the wake of unprecedented challenges over the past year. Family fees will be waived for all families utilizing subsidized child care and state preschool, through June of next year. The legislation also allows the state to deploy $250 million in infrastructure grants to build and renovate child care facilities, with a focus on underserved areas.
Under the budget agreement signed by the Governor earlier this month, the state is investing $4.8 million for Department of Social Services to lead the planning and development of a new a child care data system, aligning with the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care, to meet the needs of families and providers. The California Comeback Plan also includes investments to achieve free, high-quality universal transitional kindergarten for all four-year-olds by 2025 and to seed savings accounts for vulnerable students currently enrolled in K-12 public schools.