Marin County Child Care Commission’s 4th Annual Community Meeting on Early Care and Education

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From left to right: Xochitl Fierro, Kelsey Lombardi, Ericka Erickson, Carlos Garcia-Bedoya, Kerry Bacho, Corinna Calica, EdD, NJ Han, Penelope Butterfield, Sarah Grewe, Rosa Garcia-Bedoya, Kristen Seatavakin, Adriana Palmeira, Patricia Lopes, Mayza Wilson, Ana Andrade-Wolf, Rodney Ruppert, Jason Lau, PhD, Jordan James, Heidi Tomsky, Jeanine Schock, Baldemar Ruppert, Leticia Lopez Sierra, Maria Victoria. Photo by Isabel Melara.

The Marin County Child Care Commission started the Month of the Young Child by hosting the Fourth Annual Community Meeting on Early Care and Education at the Marin County Office of Education.

At the April 2 event, the Commission launched the countywide 2020-2025 Early Learning and Care Strategic Plan design process with the support of many organizations, including First 5 Marin, MarinKids, Parent Voices, Parent Services Project, Marin Child Care Council, Papermill Creek Children’s Corner, Community Action Marin and Marin Promise.

County Supervisor Damon Connolly opened the meeting with welcome remarks emphasizing the importance of early education as a key component in making Marin a more equitable county. He also highlighted it as a two-generation approach to address inequities: it keeps parents working and kids learning.

Representatives from State Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Marc Levine’s offices shared updates on the Gov. Gavin Newson’s proposed state budget, including a $500 million one-time investment in the early care and education’s infrastructure and workforce. They also explained some of the bills that could promote positive changes in the field, including Skinner’s SB 234, the Keep Kids Close to Home Act, which is being proposed to equalize the permitting requirements and to strengthen tenant protections for family child care providers.

Meeting participants discussed in small groups some of the key findings from the Marin County 2018-2019 Early Learning and Care Needs Assessment Report, including the reduction in 7 percent of the overall number of child care spaces in the county in the last five years, the lack of spaces for infants and toddlers, and the staff turnover affecting the field. Other findings discussed:

• 46 percent of infants and toddlers and 63 percent of school-aged children with working parents do not have access to child care

• Over 60 percent of infants and toddlers and 54 percent of school-aged children in working families who qualify for subsidized child care (with income at/below 70 percent SMI) are not receiving care

Attendees shared potential solutions to challenges affecting the field, including tax breaks for local businesses to help offset child care costs, and the possibility of providers to join forces in order to offer health and other benefits for their staff.

Jason Lau, PhD, Commissions Chair, closed the meeting by inviting the public to participate in the process of creating the countywide 2020-2025 Early Learning and Care Master Plan: “The Plan will be a guide for our next steps as a county to improve access, quality, and coordination of our early care and education services. I am glad to be part of it and I want to thank everyone here for your commitment to participate in this process in the upcoming months.”

For more information about the Marin County Child Care Commission and to get involved, please visit www.marinchildcare.org or call (415) 499-5827.

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