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.
When Andre, a preschooler with Down syndrome and delayed communication skills, was struggling with outbursts and uncooperative behavior at his Head Start preschool program, his teachers turned to the Inclusion Program for support.
First 5 Contra Costa allocates $330,000 to the Inclusion Program, which is run by the Contra Costa Child Care Council and helps children with special needs succeed in typical child care settings. In the program, Inclusion Facilitators visit children in their child care setting and provide coaching, training, and specialized equipment for teachers. Parents also receive support to ensure consistency between home and early care settings. Continue reading
First 5 Contra Costa has been a longtime supporter of child care providers who enroll in college to earn their Associate’s degrees in Early Childhood Education. Over the years, providers have received tutoring, academic advising, loans for books, and financial incentives when they meet educational and professional goals.
One strategy that has been particularly effective is the cohort program at Diablo Valley College for child care providers who speak English as a second language. A small, committed group of providers – who primarily speak either Farsi or Spanish – have taken several classes together. Along the way, the providers received tutoring and group support, including taking workshops together to prepare for upcoming classes.
According to the report produced by Child Care Aware, child care for an infant now costs more than public university tuition. In California, the average cost of full-time infant care in a center is nearly $12,000. Average college tuition is $9,022. California ranks seventh in the country for having the least affordable infant care.
Considering that many parents have two children under age five, annual child care costs can easily reach $16,000. That’s a huge chunk for a two-parent family (state median income is $80,766) and likely out of reach for a single mother (state median is $27,534).