Child Care & Afterschool: A Continuum of Care Supporting Two Generations in California
High-quality programs help prepare children for success while their parents work
The majority of California children live in households in which all parents work, making high-quality child care and afterschool programs essential for parents, children, and our state. Parents need these services to be able to go to work and support their families. Employers benefit when parents have the peace of mind they need to be productive, reliable employees. Quality child care and afterschool programs support children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development, setting them on a path to success in school and careers, and away from crime. These programs can also help youth qualify for military service, if they so choose, by addressing factors (poor academic performance, crime, substance use, and obesity) that currently prevent 71 percent of California youth from qualifying.
As a matter of national security, sustained investments in child care and afterschool programs are essential for California.
Vice Admiral (Ret.) Jody Breckenridge, U.S. Coast Guard
However, too many California children lack access to affordable, quality child care and afterschool options and COVID-19 has exacerbated this situation, which is highlighted in Council for a Strong America’s new report released 8/25 by the California office. Further, both the child care and afterschool systems suffer from low reimbursement rates and inadequate staff compensation.
To ensure a continuum of age-appropriate care, California policymakers should work to align reimbursement rates, staffing ratios, and staff training requirements between child care and afterschool programs. Support for high-quality child care and afterschool programs is an investment in California’s economic well-being and public safety, and our nation’s security.