A law, that expands and clarifies requirements for subsidized child care in the state of California, has been proposed. Loose estimates have put the number of families turned away for subsidized child care in the thousands. The reason that these families have been denied are often due to unclear requirements. In efforts to regulate acceptance requirements from one child care provider to another, the law will clearly state the requirements for acceptance as well as expand current requirements.
The current law outlines acceptance provisions that are vague. Under the current law a low-income parent that is enrolled in vocational training, workforce training, or career technical education qualifies for subsidized child care. There is not a list of specific course loads that are accepted. Instead, it states that the workforce training, vocational training, or career technical education must lead to employment in a professional field. An example of a acceptable professional field is the medical field or a managerial office position. The vague description allows for wide array of interpretations.
The proposed law further specifies this requirement, giving specific instances of workforce training. The new law would expand the description to include low-income parents enrolled in ESL classes or training. Another expansion would list low-income families enrolled in classes to receive a GED or high school diploma. The previous requirement remains a part of the law, it simply seeks to clarify or include classes that were previously not deemed as qualifying education.
The main reason the new law was proposed, was to eliminate confusion and create uniformity among child care providers and day care centers. This will be accomplished by requiring the Department of Education to release a bulletin to all child care providers. This bulletin will not only be clear requirements for subsidized child care, but also resources to provide guidance to child care providers who have questions about compliance. The hope is that this will eliminate the disparage between acceptance requirements from one provider to the next.
The most profound reason for the proposal is to help eliminate barriers for gainful employment. Obstacles like language barriers and lack of sufficient job skills greatly impede an adults ability to procure gainful employment. The need for gainful employment is exasperated for those with children. The subsidies provide child care while parents are attending the classes and training that will greatly improve their economic circumstances. This leg up to parents is statistically proven to also allow for greater opportunities for the children of the low-income parents.
Of these parents, those without command of the English language have statistically shown a much lower percentage of a high school education or equivalent. This statistic has driven the state of California to recognize the importance of ESL courses and supporting the adults seeking these courses. It is important to note that the law does not expand funding nor does it guarantee child care to those taking ESL courses. Instead, the law clearly states that a parent taking ESL courses will qualify for subsidized child care. Actually acquiring the child care will still depend on the availability of each provider or care center.
The proposed law will prevent potentially thousands of families from being denied child care assistance. The statistics are not iron-clad, but the clarification of the requirements will undeniably provide assistance to the many families that were once turned away by child care providers. This assistance has proven to provide opportunities for not only parents, but also for the children of the low-income parents.