The Child Care Law Center is a non-profit firm that uses legal expertise to ensure that low-income families have quality, affordable child care. We are the only legal organization in the country devoted exclusively to the laws and policies governing child care and preschool.
As of January 1st, 2017, two parents who are working full time minimum wage jobs, with a young child, no longer qualify for a child care subsidy. The extra 50 cents an hour from California’s minimum wage increases has unintentionally caused thousands of families to lose child care. We are working right now to align child care policy and the new minimum wage– because so many parents are being forced to choose between keeping their job and their child care.
One of our clients recently testified in Sacramento; here is her testimony.
My name is Francis Brown and I live in Sacramento with my two kids, a 4-year-old and a 20-month-old. I pay $338 a month for child care and get a subsidy from the state for the rest, about $1000 a month. But, I recently received a small raise and I am now $30 above the eligibility guidelines. The state is terminating my affordable child care, even though my raise won’t even begin to cover the $1300 a month that I will have to pay for child care now. How can I keep working if I have to pay 37% of my income for child care?
I started working at a hospital in 2015 and was soon promoted to Executive Assistant to the Director. In my review I was rated “outstanding.” My supervisor said I am “the steady rock that supports the executive office and the entire team.” Last week I received a statewide award given to outstanding employees. I am very proud of the raise that I earned, but I wish I could turn it down because losing my affordable child care leaves my family much worse off.
On top of everything, this past fall my 4-year-old was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumor, a rare kidney cancer. I had to miss a lot of work while he was getting chemotherapy and pay extra medical expenses to take care of him. I simply can’t afford to spend almost $1,000 more a month on child care. If I lose my affordable child care, I don’t see how I can afford rent, food, and gas for my car. I was finally becoming financially independent and if I can’t keep my job, I will have to go back on CalWORKs and food stamps.
Francis represents thousands of families feeling the effect of California’s failure to align child care policy and the minimum wage. But with our legal aid partners, the Child Care Law Center represented Francis in her appeal to the child care agency and her children remain in child care.
Legal know-how is the key when parents are responding to Notices of Action that threaten their child care subsidies. In each case where we helped a QLSP to intervene, we helped a family keep their child in a high quality, affordable child care program. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between advancing in their career and the wellbeing of their children.
Affordable, quality child care helps families get ahead and stay ahead. As their children develop social and academic skills, parents can focus on work and improving their family’s prospects.
To ensure all young children have a safe place to go and someone loving to care for them, we serve a variety of communities:
- Legal aid attorneys: We are an IOLTA-funded support center; we provide technical assistance, co-counseling, and trainings. We offer a wide range of services to keep legal aids informed of constantly-changing child care laws, regulations, and policies. We work on federal and state subsidies, regulation and licensing, civil rights and disability, housing rights, and zoning and land use.
- State Policymakers and Child Care Advocates: We draw on our expertise to answer questions and provide analysis of state and federal budgets, laws, regulations, and initiatives related to child care in order to help policymakers and advocates work effectively to make quality child care accessible.
- Child care providers: We answer questions to overcome the barriers providers face, like unclear state licensing regulations, local business and zoning laws, and rental housing rules, that make it difficult for them to get licensed and keep their doors open.
- Parents: We help low-income parents get and keep child care subsidies. Our goal is to ensure that low-income working families can secure affordable, safe, and high-quality care for their children.
At the Child Care Law Center, we envision a California where child care is a civil right, not a benefit; where equal opportunity begins with equal access to safe and healthy child care; and where parents can support their families without sacrificing their children’s well-being.
We at LAAC are so grateful for the work that organizations like Child Care Law Center do everyday. If you’re interested in supporting the work of CCLC, please consider making a donation to them.
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Organizations mentioned/involved: Child Care Law Center