Wonderschool is excited to announce its support of SB234, a bill authored by California Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley).

What does SB 234 do?

SB 234 increases the availability of family child care in California so children in all communities can receive quality care close to home.

How does SB 234 work?

  • SB 234 equalizes the local permitting process for family child care homes that care for up to 14 children, closing loopholes that have led to an uneven application by cities and burdensome local regulations.
  • SB 234 clarifies that family child care can operate in all types of residential settings close to where families live, in all communities.
  • SB 234 updates housing protections for family child care providers so families have the loving, home-like environment they want for their children.

Why does Wonderschool support SB234?

Wonderschool supports Senate Bill 234 because families need more options for high quality child care, and child care providers need to be able to open and operate large license family child care programs without unnecessary barriers. To meet the needs of today’s families and family child care providers, this bill equalizes and updates state law to encourage and support family child care so parents can work, children can thrive, and providers can grow.

Wonderschool is a network of modern early childhood education programs. We help passionate educators open and operate high quality programs in their homes (i.e., licensed family child care homes), and we make it easy for parents to find and enroll in these in-home programs. It is well documented that there is a critical shortage of high quality child care options for families, and we are working to expand access to care so that families have not only more options but great options, so that children can grow and thrive, and so providers can create and maintain stable and sustainable businesses.

Wonderschool has a unique perspective on the current barriers that exist when someone is trying to open a new large family child care program, or expand from a small to a large program, as we are able to see these barriers impacting real people all over the state and across communities. Several of the most significant barriers we see would be addressed in SB234. The successful passage of this bill would make it easier and more efficient for educators to open large family child care programs, and would afford them needed protections while doing so.

The Child Day Care Facilities Act (CDCFA), established nearly 40 years ago, was a great starting point in recognizing the importance and validity of family child care. But the law has not kept pace with the needs of parents or providers, and loopholes have caused uneven application by cities, burdensome local regulations, and a lack of housing protections. Wonderschool sees firsthand the effects of these burdens, both on providers trying to get licensed as well as with parents who are dealing with critical child care shortages.

To be clear, Wonderschool is in full support of all regulations that help ensure a safe and healthy environment for children, families, and child care providers. Occasionally, there are regulations that deter quality of care or successful operations of a program, even if that was not the original intention. Wonderschool is in support of updating regulations to positively impact the mixed delivery system of child care, when the opportunities arise.

Why do California families need SB 234?

Finding safe, affordable child care close to home shouldn’t have to feel like winning the lottery, but for too many parents, it does. Statewide, licensed child care is available for only 23% of children with working parents, and the numbers keep getting worse. All too often, families are forced to cobble together situations that lack the nurturing home environment they want for their children. This is a missed opportunity for quality care and early learning in California, especially for our babies and toddlers. For parents, knowing your baby is with a warm, nurturing caregiver is everything. Family child care providers are the primary source of care for children, offering warm, enriching care close to home or to work! Families should have enough options that they can pick the choice that works best for their specific family.

For more information:

http://childcarelaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/The-Basics-SB-234-Keeping-Kids-Close-to-Home.pdf

http://childcarelaw.org/sb-234-keeping-kids-close-to-home-resources/

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