The First 5 Contra Costa Board of Commissioners voted to support AB 435 (Thurmond) at our April meeting.
AB 435, the Contra Costa Child Care Subsidy Pilot, would authorize Contra Costa County to develop an individualized child care subsidy plan with flexibility to adjust eligibility guidelines, increase reimbursement rates for providers, and fully utilize subsidized funding the state allocates to Contra Costa County.
This bill is modeled after successful legislation that increased local flexibility of child care subsidy dollars in Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Francisco. The bill does not call for new funding from the state. First 5 Contra Costa is co-sponsoring AB 435 with the Contra Costa County Office of Education.
AB 435 would improve subsidized child care in Contra Costa County in the following ways:
- Increase reimbursement rates to providers. Reimbursement rates paid to child care providers are insufficient in this high-cost county, leaving programs unable to cover programming and operational costs. As a result, these programs close or stop serving eligible children.
- Increase access to child care for low-income families. The county would be able to adjust eligibility for children for some programs, and ensure that they receive subsidized care for a longer period.
- Maximize funding allocated by the state. Contra Costa County had to return $3.8 million of subsidy dollars the state allocated in 2015-16 because child care providers could not afford to serve eligible families.
AB 435, which also includes subsidy pilots for Marin and Sonoma Counties, will have its first hearing on April 25 at the Assembly Human Services Committee.