The CA 2021/22 budget passed last month, but a series of “trailer bills” to fund specific programs passed on July 15. Many of these were policy priorities for myself and for my caucus. Programs receiving funding ranged from foster youth to childcare and development programs, to housing and homelessness.
Specifically, we passed legislation to begin consolidation of California’s fractured rate structure for childcare and preschool programs. With the $2.6 Billion allocated this year alone, quality of care will be emphasized to support positive learning and developmental outcomes for children based on evidence-based practices. Childcare administration will be transferred from the Department of Education to the Department of Social Services, as required by law.
Reimbursement rates for providers will increase, along with the number of subsidized childcare slots, financed partly with federal revenues. Childcare providers, a majority of whom are women, are frontline workers doing some of the most important work - getting our youngest children a firm educational foundation, yet have been long overlooked and undervalued. That is why AB 131, known as the Child Care and Development Services Act was a Legislative Women's Caucus (LWC) priority bill. This week, I joined with the LWC for a bill signing ceremony with the Governor as he signed AB 131 into law to achieve these childcare monumental milestones.
Several programs set to be suspended that assist young adults with housing issues, and for foster youth during moments of instability, were restored. To increase safety and security, placement of foster youth in other states will end due to reported abuse and lack of oversight at out-of-state facilities -- youth currently placed out-of-state will be returned to California. The legislation also prioritizes funding for youth who age out of the foster care program, and for pregnant individuals.
Additional budget trailer bills will be considered over the coming weeks, with floor votes likely in August.