March 8, 2017 (SACRAMENTO) California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) and her colleague, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) won approval from the Assembly Human Services Committee on their joint legislation aimed at keeping children in quality child care programs by removing overly burdensome reporting requirements and outdated eligibility standards from state law.
“We need to encourage work and advancement in the workplace for low income women, in particular. When a child gets ripped out of childcare because her Mom gets a small promotion at work, or a parent has to choose between work and qualifying for childcare, the system is not working. This bill is a step towards fixing this dilemma,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher said.
“The increase in state minimum wage is a great achievement for California, but it’s still not enough to afford child care — the very thing that enables families to work,” said Assemblymember Miguel Santiago. “As a father of a three-year old and an infant, I know first-hand the importance of continuous and dependable childcare. Quality, stable programs shouldn’t be a luxury accessible only to those in the middle and upper classes; they should be a building block for our entire workforce.”
AB 60 addresses two critical shortcomings in the state’s current federal Child Care Block Grant programs. Current law requires a quarterly assessment of eligibility for children enrolled in the programs. That means that parents are essentially required to re-enroll their children every three months. These reporting requirements place significant burdens on childcare providers as well, meaning many enrollment applications get backlogged.
Additionally, income eligibility requirements have not been adjusted in more than a decade, even though the minimum wage has been increased several times during that time. As a result, parents working full time in minimum wage jobs are priced out of the program’s income limits, perversely forcing parents to forgo full time work in order to maintain child care.
By removing these requirements, AB 60 will help ensure parents can stay in their jobs and children can receive the quality, affordable care they need while their parents are working. AB 60 was approved on a vote of 7-0. It will next be considered in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.