Move Closer to Universal Child Care ($5 billion)
Advancing universal child care means:
Investing in child care educators and program providers so they can have a thriving income, ensure stability and continuity for learning for children, which in turn will preserve quality of care and learning. This is one of the most important factors in providing successful opportunities for children. The workforce needs investment so they have the resources they need to serve their communities in the form of wage increase, benefits and adequate rates.
- Create a fund (for the short term) to increase wages by at least $12,500 per year.
- Provide a health insurance support program for child care workers whose pay increases above Medicaid eligibility levels
- Transition to a new provider reimbursement methodology and pay scale by 2025 (Legislation)
- Provide a monthly per-child supplement for non-traditional hour care and start-up grant program for providers seeking to offer non-traditional hour care
- Increase rates for legally-exempt (also known as Friends, Family and Neighbors care) child care providers to 80% of the family child care rate and to 90% for providers who are eligible for the enhanced rate.
Continuing the momentum of providing more access to child care assistance for more families, up to 400% of the federal poverty level as it stands currently.
- Ensure that undocumented children have access to child care assistance
- Ensure that families whose income exceeds the federal eligibility level, are able to maintain and recertify their eligibility so they they are not faced with a benefits cliff
- Adopt categorical eligibility so families enrolled in public assistance programs (SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, etc) and for children with disabilities, children experiencing homelessness, in foster care or receiving preventive services are automatically eligible for child care assistance.
Break down unnecessary barriers preventing the child care system from working for families and providers
- Enact presumptive eligibility so families do not need to wait for paperwork processing to begin receiving assistance (Legislation)
- Develop online application, eligibility determination and recertification and provider payment processes (Legislation/Regulation)
- Pay child care subsidies to child care providers based on enrollment, not attendance, statewide. (Legislation)
- Implement automatic market rate increases & decouple subsidy payment rates from private pay fees (Legislation)
Continue the momentum in full day pre-K by investing $250 million.
- Focus on increasing rates for school districts that were early adopters of Universal Pre-K who continue to have programs that have to fund from local tax revenue. Currently, some school districts continue to receive from the state $5,400 per child for full day pre-K, an amount that is inadequate to cover the cost of any quality program. In addition, school districts that contract with community based organizations to administer the pre-K program, do not provide an adequate amount for teachers to be paid a thriving wage, conteming the teachers that work for these CBOs to wages that do not cover the basics.
- Ensure equitable distribution of pre-K funding to community based organizations and family child care programs to ensure continuity of learning for children that honors families’ choice.
- Ensure that teachers’ experience in all child care programs, with or without formal certification is considered appropriate for teaching pre-K.
- Ensure that preschool special education is adequately funded.
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