Last week, a proposal aimed at providing caregivers in California’s child welfare system with better access to child care was left out of Gov. Jerry Brown’s final budget, the second consecutive year that a bid to boost child-care support to these families has been denied.
Coming ahead of Wednesday’s deadline to finalize next year’s budget, the deal between Brown and legislative leaders saw the governor bypass greater investments in social-service programs in favor of a $2 billion deposit in the state’s rainy-day fund.
Supported by several advocates across the state, including the Alliance for Children’s Rights and Children Now, the child care bridge proposal would have provided six-month vouchers to foster parents and other caregivers of children ages 0 to 3.
Though families in the state’s foster care system are eligible to access subsidized child care, receiving that care as soon as the child is placed into their homes has proved difficult. Many foster parents have faced significant, months-long waits to receive subsidized child care. Others have sought out private child care on their own, incurring considerable financial costs.
According to a 2014 listing of child costs from Kidsdata.org, the average monthly cost of care for infants at a childcare center is $1111 and $705 for family-home care. The California foster care rate for children 0 to 4 is $688 a month.
In midst of a push to recruit more foster families in the state, a pair of reports in Los Angeles County last year described the lack of access to high-quality child care as one of the most important factors in dissuading some potential foster parents and relatives from becoming caregivers in the foster-care system.