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Child Care Advocates Find Warmer Reception This Year At Capitol

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Parents, children and child care advocates rally at the Capitol last week urging Gov. Jerry Brown and California lawmakers for more child care funding.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Later this week, Gov. Jerry Brown will release his updated California budget proposal. If past is prologue, he’ll again call for fiscal restraint. But legislative Democrats are considering a few areas for limited new spending – including child care.

24-year-old Gina Campos brought her two daughters to the Capitol from Santa Rosa. She’s in school to become a nurse, and works as a caregiver on the side. One of her daughters has child care; the other does not.

“I’m lucky enough to have friends, when their days are off, they can help me,“ Campos says. “And I just unfortunately have to go from friend to friend.”

Parents like Campos have won the support of legislative Democrats, who list child care among their budget priorities this year.

“As we talk about the ever-widening education gap, early care and education is our key to success in interrupting that cradle-to-prison pipeline,” says state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles).

Assembly Minority Leader Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) acknowledges millions struggle to find child care, and the issue deserves debate. But she notes Democrats have repeatedly rejected flexible work schedule legislation that could save parents thousands in child care costs.

“So that’s a way where we don’t have to spend a single additional dime of taxpayer dollars to expand child care when we haven’t even done things that don’t require any money that could save families child care costs,” Olsen says.

Gov. Jerry Brown will likely again call for spending cautiously as he releases his updated budget. But in the last few years, he’s agreed to some new money for a handful of legislative Democrats’ top priorities.