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What Can California Do to Help Families Find High-Quality Affordable Child Care?

With Senate Bill 18 (SB 18), the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth in California, we can commit to ensuring every child has what they need to thrive.

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Over the past 20 years, advancements in brain science have confirmed what parents have always known: Children learn at a remarkable pace during the first years of their lives, setting the stage for their future success. We now know that 80 percent of brain development happens before the age of 3 and that the majority of the achievement gap kids face at age 14 already exists by the time they start kindergarten.

Supporting early childhood well-being can transform the trajectory of a young person's life. High-quality early care and learning have been proven to have long-lasting benefits for health, academic achievement, and lifelong success.

It's clear that high-quality early care and learning opportunities are essential to ensuring our kids can thrive, but far too many families are being priced out. Paying for child care in California can cost more than sending a child to college or keeping a roof over their head. Even families that qualify for help often don't get it: Six out of seven eligible children don't receive public child care services, and over 33,000 eligible 4-year-olds are still unserved by public pre-K.

When Common Sense Kids Action released the Right Start Commission's groundbreaking report, Rebuilding the California Dream, we recommended California commit to ensuring every child has what they need to thrive with ideas like:

  • Universal access to high-quality pre-K and child care, regardless of families' ability to pay
  • Streamlining the state's early childhood programs to make it easier for families to access services and providers to deliver them
  • A "one-stop shop" online portal and network of local centers to help parents and caregivers find and access early childhood services

Tell us your ideas!

To put solutions like these into action, we partnered with California State Senator Richard Pan on Senate Bill 18 (SB 18), the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth in California.

Right now, we are working with Senator Pan's office on the first round of amendments to the Bill of Rights.

Tell us what matters to you and what you need to help your child thrive at [email protected], or join one of the Parent Meetups we're hosting across the state!

Teresa Machado
Teresa Machado is Common Sense Kids Action’s Policy Associate for California. She joined Kids Action in 2016 from Early Edge California in Oakland, CA, where she worked to advance policy to improve early education access and quality. Previously, she worked as a district representative for California State Assemblymember Das Williams and began her career in policy as an intern with the California State Assembly Committee on Education.