Early Care and Education (see data for this topic)
- Websites with Related Information
- California Child Care Resource & Referral Network
- California Preschool Study, RAND Labor and Population
- Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP): Child Care and Early Education
- Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
- Child Trends: Early Childhood
- IssueLab: Children and Youth, Foundation Center
- MDRC: Child Care and Early Education
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
- National Center for Children in Poverty: Early Care and Learning
- National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER)
- Office of Child Care, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children & Families
- Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis
- The Early Learning Lab
- Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families
- Key Reports and Research
- 2018 California Children's Report Card, Children Now
- A Golden Opportunity: Advancing California's Early Care and Education Workforce Professional Development System, 2012, RAND Labor and Population, Karoly, L. A.
- A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America, 2015, U.S. Dept. of Education
- America’s Fragmented Child Care and Early Education System, 2015, Council on Contemporary Families, Gable, S.
- Beyond Subprime Learning: Accelerating Progress in Early Education, 2014, New America, Bornfreund, L., et al.
- California's Infants and Toddlers: Future Promise, or Missed Opportunities?, 2015, Child Trends, Murphey, D., & Cooper, M.
- Five Things You Need to Know About California’s Child Care and Development System, 2014, California Budget & Policy Center, Schumacher, K.
- High Quality Child Care Is Out of Reach for Working Families, 2015, Economic Policy Institute, Gould, E., & Cooke, T.
- Kids' Share 2017: Federal Expenditures on Children through 2016 and Future Projections, 2017, Urban Institute, Isaacs, J., et al.
- Literacy Promotion: An Essential Component of Primary Care Pediatric Practice, 2014, Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Early Childhood
- Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2017 Report, 2017, Child Care Aware of America
- Policies to Promote Child Health, 2015, The Future of Children
- Portrait of Promise: The California Statewide Plan to Promote Health and Mental Health Equity, 2015, California Dept. of Public Health, Office of Health Equity
- Preschool and School Readiness: Experiences of Children with Non-English-Speaking Parents, 2012, Public Policy Institute of California, Cannon, J. S., et al.
- Quality in Family, Friend, and Neighbor Child Care Settings, 2011, Child Care & Early Education Research Connections, Susman-Stillman, A., & Banghart, P.
- Reading to Young Children, 2015, Child Trends Databank
- Starting Early: Education from Prekindergarten to Third Grade, 2016, The Future of Children, 26(2)
- Starting Strong: Why Investing in Child Care and Development Programs Is Critical for Families and California's Economic Future, 2013, California Budget & Policy Center
- Study of California’s Transitional Kindergarten Program: Report on the First Year of Implementation, 2014, American Institutes for Research, Quick, H., et al.
- The Research Base for a Birth through Age Eight State Policy Framework, 2013, Alliance for Early Success & Child Trends, Tout, K., et al.
- The State of Preschool 2015: State Preschool Yearbook, 2016, National Institute for Early Education Research, Barnett, W. S., et al.
- Third Grade Follow-up to the Head Start Impact Study: Final Report, 2012, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Puma, M., et al.
- Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation, 2015, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council of The National Academies, Allen, L., & Kelly, B. B. (Eds.)
- Understanding California’s Early Care and Education System, 2017, Learning Policy Institute, Melnick, H., et al.
- County/Regional Reports
- 2013 School Readiness in Marin County, Marin Community Foundation and First 5 Marin, Applied Survey Research
- 2014 Solano Children's Report Card, Children's Network of Solano County
- 2015 School Readiness in Alameda County, First 5 Alameda County & Interagency Children’s Policy Council, Applied Survey Research
- 2018-19 California County Scorecard of Children's Well-Being, Children Now
- Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan, Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health
- Connecting the Dots: Snapshots of Child Well-Being in Los Angeles County, Children's Data Network
- Early Care and Education: A Vital Resource for Strengthening Families (Los Angeles County), 2016, Children's Data Network, USC
- Key Indicators of Health by Service Planning Area, 2017, Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health
- Live Well San Diego Report Card on Children, Families, and Community, 2017, The Children's Initiative & Live Well San Diego
- Santa Monica Youth Wellbeing Report Card, Santa Monica Cradle to Career
- The 24th Annual Report on the Conditions of Children in Orange County, 2018, Orange County Children's Partnership
- More Data Sources For Early Care and Education
- 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book, Annie E. Casey Foundation
- California Child Care Portfolio, California Child Care Resource & Referral Network
- California Health Interview Survey, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research
- Child Trends Databank: Early School Readiness
- Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) Facility Search, California Dept. of Social Services
- National Center for Education Statistics: Data Tools, U.S. Dept. of Education, Institute of Education Sciences
Learn More About This Topic
- Why This Topic Is Important
Child care is a critically important need for many families in the United States (1). High-quality child care centers and homes deliver consistent, developmentally sound, and emotionally supportive care and education (1, 2). Research indicates that high-quality early care and education can have long-lasting positive effects. Specifically, high-quality child care before age 5 is related to higher levels of behavioral/emotional functioning, school readiness, academic achievement, educational attainment, and earnings (1, 2, 3), and the gains are particularly pronounced for children from low-income families and those at risk for academic failure (1, 3).
However, finding affordable, high-quality child care is a major challenge for many families, and access differs based on geography, race, and income (3). In 2014, licensed child care was available for an estimated 25% of potential demand in California (i.e., children ages 0-12 with working parents) (4). And the cost is high. For example, center-based infant care costs in California made up an estimated 14% of the median annual income for married couples and 45% for single parents in 2014 (1). In 2014, California was ranked the 8th least affordable state for center-based infant care in the nation (1).For more information about early care and education, see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section.
Sources for this narrative:
1. Child Care Aware of America. (2015). Parents and the high cost of child care: 2015 report. Retrieved from: http://www.usa.childcareaware.org/advocacy-public-policy/resources/reports-and-research/costofcare
2. MacGillvary, J., & Lucia, L. (2011). Economic impacts of early care and education in California. UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. Retrieved from: http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/cscce/2011/economic-impacts-of-early-care-and-education-in-california
3. U.S. Department of Education. (2015). A matter of equity: Preschool in America. Retrieved from: http://www2.ed.gov/documents/early-learning/matter-equity-preschool-america.pdf
4. As cited on kidsdata.org, Availability of child care for potential demand. (2015). California Child Care Resource & Referral Network. Retrieved from: http://www.rrnetwork.org/california_child_care_portfolio
- Policy Implications
Early childhood is a critical period for cognitive, biological, and social development (1, 2). The quality of children’s environments and experiences during these years can have lasting effects (1, 2). From infancy, children are learning to relate to others and their environment while developing the skills to successfully navigate social, emotional, and educational challenges (2, 3). Research has shown that quality early education and child care can have positive, long-term impacts on child development, especially for children with low family incomes or other disadvantages (1, 2, 3). For example, children who attend high-quality preschools tend to have better test scores, fewer behavioral problems, and higher rates of high school graduation, among other long-term benefits (1, 2). Without access to high-quality early learning opportunities, children can fall behind their peers, creating an academic achievement gap that has been shown to widen with age (1, 2). However, many families have difficulty accessing quality early care and education, often due to a lack of program affordability or availability (1).
According to research and subject experts, policies that could improve early education and child care include:
For more policy ideas and research about early care and education, visit the State Advisory Council on Early Learning and Care, and the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network. Also see Policy Implications under Family Income and Poverty on kidsdata.org.
- Increasing state funding for early care and education, tying funding to program quality and prioritizing care for infants/toddlers and children with the greatest needs (1)
- Requiring early education programs that receive public funding to participate in a continuous improvement process that includes benchmarked quality ratings, action plans for improvement, accountability measures, financial incentives, program support, and parent education efforts (1, 4)
- Creating adequate capacity for high-quality care and comprehensive learning programs for infants and toddlers, including full-day preschool for all low-income children ages 3-4, and integrating guidelines for easing the transitions from early care, to preschool, to the K-12 environment (1, 2, 5)
- Improving the state’s professional development infrastructure to prepare and support an effective early childhood education workforce that includes accessible, coordinated, standardized, high-quality training for educators and caregivers that is research-based and focused on applying knowledge to practice (1, 2, 3)
- Making the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit fully refundable at the state level, targeting low and moderate income earners, regardless of tax liability, and encouraging other federal solutions to address the high cost of child care (6)
Sources for this narrative:
1. Governor’s State Advisory Council on Early Learning and Care. (2013). California comprehensive early learning plan. California Department of Education. Retrieved from: http://glenpricegroup.com/ccelp
2. Tout, K., et al. (2013). The research base for a birth through age eight state policy framework. Alliance for Early Success & Child Trends. Retrieved from: http://www.childtrends.org/?publications=the-research-base-for-a-birth-through-eight-state-policy-framework-2
3. Allen, L., & Kelly, B. B. (Eds.). (2015). Transforming the workforce for children birth through age 8: A unifying foundation. Institute of Medicine and National Research Council of The National Academies. Retrieved from: http://iom.nationalacademies.org/Reports/2015/Birth-To-Eight.aspx
4. National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement. (2012). QRIS in statute and regulations. Retrieved from: http://qrisnetwork.org/resource/2012/qris-statute-and-regulations
5. Annie E. Casey Foundation. (2013). The first eight years: Giving kids a foundation for lifetime success . Retrieved from: http://www.aecf.org/resources/the-first-eight-years-giving-kids-a-foundation-for-lifetime-success
6. National Women’s Law Center. (2015). 2015 supplement to "Making care less taxing: Improving state child and dependent care tax provisions." Retrieved from: http://www.nwlc.org/resource/2015-supplement-making-care-less-taxing-improving-state-child-and-dependent-care-tax-provis
- How Children Are Faring
An estimated 40% of California children ages 3-5 were not enrolled in preschool or kindergarten in 2014. Percentages varied by racial/ethnic group and age. For example, in 2014, 45% of 3-5-year-old Hispanic/Latino children were not enrolled in preschool or kindergarten, compared to 34% of 3-5-year-old white and Asian American children.
In 2014, licensed child care was available for an estimated 25% of children ages 0-12 with working parents in California, but in some counties, availability was as low as 13%. And the total number of slots available has declined in recent years. Additionally, many child care providers do not fill all of their slots due to shortages of qualified staff or other issues, and providers’ schedules do not always meet the needs of families. For example, in 2014, only 2% of licensed child care centers offered child care during non-traditional hours. While family child care homes are more likely to provide care during non-traditional hours, they represent only about a third of the licensed child care slots in the state, and their numbers are on the decline as well.
In 2014, the average annual cost of licensed infant care was more than $13,000 in child care centers and nearly $8,500 in family child care homes. Care for preschool-age children was less expensive, but still over $9,000 in child care centers and almost $8,000 in family child care homes.
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