Statement on California's FY 18-19 State Budget
Many investments in youth have been prioritized in this year’s budget, and for that we are grateful. Supporting families and children during their earliest years is a critical investment in our state’s future.
Perhaps the biggest win this budget cycle was the CalWORKS Home Visiting Initiative – a pilot project funded at $158.5 million over three years, including $26.7 million in 2018-19. Funding at this level will make home visiting a reality for thousands of first-time parents in California. Research confirms that the benefits of home visiting are multi-generational, benefitting both parent and child in the short-term, and can help reduce health care, welfare and criminal justice expenditures over the long run.
Over $400 million in funding for early childhood care and education will support program quality by increasing reimbursement rates generally and in particular for those serving infants, toddlers and special needs students. It will also help add over 13,000 Alternative Payment child care slots and make possible a series of quality improvements via professional development funds.
We are also pleased that funding for the Youth Reinvestment Fund was approved at $37.3 million, with $27.3 million specifically for diversion, marking the first time the state has specifically dedicated a funding stream to keeping youth out of the justice system and helping connect them to community-based organizations able to offer therapy, support and guidance. An additional $15 million will expand Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, an integrated framework that seeks to treat the “whole child” by providing universal supports to ensure students’ academic, behavioral and social success. The new funding will particularly focus on improved school climate and alternatives to suspension.
Another big win was the inclusion of $300 million in ongoing funding for Career Technical Education. Funding at this level will go a long way towards preparing California students for success in college and career.
While all of these investments are worth celebrating, we would be remiss if we did not express our disappointment in the lack of a funding increase for the After School Education and Safety (ASES) Program. This oversight will leave many district administrators struggling to offer quality programming and enrichment activities during the hours after school, and many will struggle to keep their doors open. We will continue to seek funding for California’s afterschool programs, as we recognize the important role they play in protecting public safety, the economy and the security of our nation.
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