A new report by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office is suggesting significant changes to the state’s child care and early education systems.
Due to the complexity of the system and an inability to provide funding for all eligible families, those who qualify for help with child care costs receive different levels of state support and quality of care depending on which state-funded program they enroll in, the report states. For example, though all child care providers that receive state funding must meet health and safety standards, only State Preschool programs must meet academic quality standards.
“In short, the system is complex, bifurcated, confusing and inconsistent,” states the report, which was released Friday. “We recommend undertaking a fundamental restructuring to create a simpler, more rational and efficient system.”
The LAO report advises the Legislature to raise the reimbursement rates for child care vouchers, create education standards for child care centers that accept state vouchers and develop a regional monitoring system for programs serving children from birth through age 4, among other suggestions.