A new brief from Children Now outlines a portfolio of policy solutions aimed at supporting children in California during the critical developmental years of early childhood.
In California, a significant chunk of the state’s babies and toddlers are at risk of abuse and poor health outcomes during their youngest years. Nearly a third of children entering California’s foster care system are under the age of 3. Only nine percent of the state’s eligible infants have access to subsidized child care, which has meant that many parents are strained to afford licensed, quality child care providers that can promote healthy development.
Young children from 0 to 3 in California often deal with health or developmental delays that are related to familial economic struggles, a lack of stable housing and immigration status. The report notes that 62 percent of the state’s babies are born into low-income households, and nearly 50 percent of the state’s children live in families where one of the parents was born outside the U.S.
As a result of these circumstances, Children Now is looking to policymakers to address the trauma and health gaps faced by the state’s most vulnerable children – particularly those from communities of color.
“California’s policymakers are failing our state’s youngest children,” according to authors of the brief.
In Starting Now: A Policy Vision for Supporting the Healthy Growth and Development of Every California Baby, policy goals and opportunities for state and local leaders are organized in four areas: strategies for promoting healthy childhoods, parental supports, early childhood education and neighborhood-level opportunities for supporting healthy children.
Some of the proposed policies include increasing enrollment in health coverage programs like Medi-Cal, regular developmental screenings of young children in health care settings, greater participation in in the California Earned Income Tax Credit program, widespread use of home visitation program and access to stable, high-quality child care for all children, among others.
Check out the brief here.