BY CHARLOTTE NEAL AND RUBY CHEGE
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and that may be true. But this much we know for certain: for working families in today’s economy, it takes, if not a village, at least a solid team.
The backbone of that team is parents, children and caregivers. Parents must work to afford housing, food and other necessities. Children require a safe, nurturing place to be when mom and dad are at their jobs. In order to thrive, families need to team up with affordable, high-quality child care providers. Working parents plus great child care providers equals success.
In California today, that formula isn’t working.
Because of the shortage of licensed child care slots and a lack of sufficient state funding, only 1 in 9 of the nearly 2 million California children eligible for subsidized child care actually receive it.
The state’s patchwork system to assist low- and moderate-income families does not come close to meeting the needs of working parents and fixing it hasn’t been a priority in Sacramento. Adjusted for inflation, the state is spending less today to support child care than it was a decade ago.