Baby Steps: Recession Cuts, Restoration & What’s Next for California’s Child Care System

by Leila Rock, Sarah Crow, & Hong Van Pham, Next Generation | Strong Families & Early Learning

Access to affordable child care helps families achieve economic security, offers children stability and the opportunity to thrive, and strengthens California’s economy overall. Unfortunately, the programs that provide child care subsidies to low-income Californians were greatly weakened during the Great Recession of 2007. As a result, children and families in greatest need of these resources now face instability and diminished job prospects that will have short- and long-term consequences to their individual well-being, and our state.

As legislators begin a new year of work on legislative proposals, this brief highlights key pieces of research that describe California’s child care system, and reviews proposed policy changes to improve it. It provides a synopsis of the current state of child care in California, including cuts made during the recession, restorations to the system made in last year’s budget, as well as new federal child care requirements that emphasize quality of care.