On February 4, 2021, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) hosted a virtual meeting to provide an update on the transition of child care and development programs from the California Department of Education (CDE) to CDSS and walk through the transition plan. CDSS emphasized that its key goals in this transition are to ensure the state’s system of early learning and care becomes more integrated and coordinated to achieve the goals of the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care (MPELC) and integrate child care and development programs to serve the whole child and whole family. To develop the transition plan, CDSS provided stakeholders numerous opportunities to provide feedback, including through surveys, quarterly update calls, listening sessions, and parent focus groups, which convened more than 1,500 participants. As part of the feedback, CDSS launched a website dedicated to the transition which is available in English and Spanish.
CDSS has developed three guiding documents that form the transition plan. The first of these documents was released shortly after the conclusion of the February 4th meeting. The main components of the plan consist of:
- Improving child care and development services for children and families.
- Maintaining connections with the California State Preschool Program (CSPP).
- Focusing on the new Child Care and Development Division, appointment of new Deputy Director Dr. Lupe Jaime, and transition of 185 CDE staff to CDSS effective July 1st.
- Informing parents and families of the comprehensive supports available to their children through CDSS services.
- Preventing administrative duplication and regulatory conflict for providers that have contracts for both general child care and development programs and CSPPs.
- Maintaining existing provider flexibility to transfer funds across contracts for both general child care and development programs and CSPPs.
- Ensuring quality projects support state-supported child care in all settings, including CSPPs.
- Utilizing the California Head Start State Collaboration Office to continue to engage with CSPP providers and school districts.
- Planning to facilitate the data lifecycle and data sharing in order to improve state-level reporting in a Cradle to Career data system that helps inform family choices about child care.
- Further plans to align activities with recommendations from the MPELC regarding child care.
- Continuity of operations and services of the Child and Adult Food Care Program.
After providing an overview of the main components of the transition plan, CDSS shared some of the key themes they have heard stakeholders voice through the Listening Sessions. Overall, there was a clear demand from participants to streamline, simplify, and align the child care system. Participants also expressed the need to move from a child care system focused on compliance to one that is focused on positive outcomes, as well as a need to dismantle racism and mitigate inequities in the child care system.
Since there was technically no call for public comment at this virtual meeting, the chat feature was used as a venue to ask questions and express thoughts and reactions. Throughout the meeting, many had questions about which roles CDE or CDSS would have or maintain and what sort of effect those changes would have on providers. Several providers expressed concern about child care being kept separate from education, saying that they work hard and are proud of the education they provide through child care and that the new department name fails to capture that by only focusing on child care and development. Several also had questions about program reporting requirements and whether they would have to report to both CDSS and CDE and the process of transfers allowed between CCTR and CSPP contracts. Many providers raised concerns about duplication of work. While many expressed that they were appreciative of the feedback sessions, they also conveyed that they still wanted more details on the transition.
The meeting concluded with next steps by asking stakeholders to continue to share feedback on the transition by completing this survey.
For more information about the transition, visit the CDSS’ Child Care Transition Page and Child Care and Development Transition Plan Guide. To learn about upcoming stakeholder meetings, or for any other questions or information related to this transition, please reach out to: CCTransition@dss.ca.gov.