This is a Once in a Childhood Opportunity – California Kids Need Your Support!

With your help, we can ensure that state leaders make even stronger investments in the systems that serve kids, and enact a final budget agreement that does right by all children and youth in California.

Please sign on to this letter urging Governor Newsom and the Legislature to prioritize dollars in the state budget for supports for kids, paying special attention to investments in child care, school-based mental health, and for children in foster care.

This campaign is no longer accepting sign-ons. You can read the letter to the governor below.

Dear Governor Newsom and State Legislators,

The undersigned organizations urge you to bolster the May Revision budget proposal and further prioritize kids in the 2021-22 State Budget.

As state leaders, you have a once in a childhood opportunity to make even stronger investments in the systems that serve kids, especially Black, Latino, and other children of color, kids growing up in poverty, and youth in foster care, who have historically been underserved and continue to be disproportionately impacted by the devastating effects of the pandemic. We appreciate that you are being inundated by numerous interests, and recognize that even with a budget surplus, the state can’t sufficiently meet every need and supplement federal investments in every area. As you make tough choices and determine your priorities, we urge you to put kids at the top of the list.

The last Children’s Movement letter (sent March 30) urged that a number of critical kid-focused investments be included in the May Revise. We applaud the Governor for including a number of those asks in his proposal, especially around early childhood health and TK-14 education. But the May Revise was lacking in a few key areas, and in calling on you to prioritize dollars in the state budget for supports for kids, we urge you to include the following in the final budget agreement:

Child care: Preserve, protect, and rebuild early care and education by immediately releasing the $3.7 billion in federal child care pandemic relief funding, and additionally investing at least $5.15 billion in key priorities including to: reform and increase provider reimbursement rates, create a minimum of 200,000 new mixed-delivery subsidized child care slots, build new and renovate existing facilities, and extend family fee waivers and hold harmless provisions moving forward.

School based mental health: Provide $80.5 million to fully fund the turn-key, Mental Health Student Services Act school-county partnerships ready for implementation. These partnerships will help prevent student mental health concerns from becoming severe and disabling; increase timely access to services; participate in outreach to recognize early signs; reduce stigma; and prevent negative outcomes.

Children in foster care: The State must be responsive to children and youth in foster care and families by providing pandemic resources to caregivers to help them support the children in their care; expanding the Emergency Child Care Bridge Program by $37 million so a lack of child care never prevents or disrupts a placement; and dedicating adequate funding to build local child abuse and neglect prevention services that further the vision of the Family First Prevention Services Act.

Well before COVID-19, California was not prioritizing kids; our investments lagged far behind most other states. And we currently rank 34th nationally on child well-being. Now is the time to move us towards national leadership and improve outcomes for all California kids. We urge you to ensure that our most precious constituency, our kids, are your top priority.

The Children’s Movement