Most Vulnerable California Kids Get Big Wins in Budget
June 28, 2016
OAKLAND, CA – Children Now applauded the final state budget signed today for its key investments in kids, including the multi-year commitment of over $500 million to support quality early learning options and more than $150 million to increase programs and services for children in foster care.
Nearly $147 million will be allocated this coming year to raise drastically low reimbursement rates so that child care and preschool providers can continue to serve working families and keep up with the cost of providing quality services and California’s increasing minimum wage. The budget also increases access to the state preschool program by almost 3,000 spaces, with the promise to add nearly 6,000 more over the next few years.
“I applaud the state’s leaders for taking steps to fill the gaps in a sorely under-resourced system and laying the foundation for more children to benefit from quality early learning programs going forward. We look forward to building on this promise next year,” Children Now President Ted Lempert said.
The Legislative Women’s Caucus took the lead in pushing for investments to shore up the state’s early learning system throughout the budget season. Both Assembly and Senate leaders rallied in support of significant additional investment during final negotiations with the Governor. Children Now helped to coordinate a support statement of an unprecedented 480+ organizations and businesses calling for the state’s leaders to make the largest investment possible. The letter was organized in partnership with the California Alternative Payment Program Association (CAPPA), California Child Care Resource & Referral Network, California Child Development Administrators Association (CCDAA), Child Care Law Center, and Child Care Resource Center.
The bulk of the new child welfare funding included in the budget, $127.3 million, goes to the state’s Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) effort focused on restructuring the child welfare system to better support foster youth in family settings. This includes establishing a new Home-Based Family Care Rate System, which Children Now has championed for several years. The new rate system will provide resources, as well as supports and services, for children in foster care based on their assessed level of need rather than the type of placement they are in. The new rate system also provides equitable rates and access to the same supports and services for relative caregivers, who are provided with much lower rates and denied access to many resources under the current system.
Additional new funds in the state budget will be used to support group home accreditation, accountability systems, child and family teams, administrative reviews, case planning and assessments, the new resource family approval process, and foster parent recruitment, retention, and training.
“California has taken a huge step forward to improve the lives of children who have been abused and neglected,” Lempert said. “We have a responsibility to ensure more children in foster care have the opportunity to be cared for by relatives and the stability and supports they need to heal and thrive without losing their connections to their communities.”
Children Now applauds these budget investments and calls on California to continue to support children’s health, education, and well-being so that all kids can thrive.
About Children Now: Children Now is a nonpartisan umbrella research, policy development, and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting children's health, education and well-being in California. Children Now also leads The Children’s Movement of California, a grassroots network of more than 1,500 business, education, parent, civil rights, faith, and community-based organizations, as well as thousands of individuals, working together to make children a top priority in public policy. Learn more at www.childrennow.org< Back to all Press Releases