This week, the Early Childhood Policy Council (ECPC) hosted the inaugural meeting of its Parent Advisory Committee. In June, Early Edge California Executive Director Patricia Lozano was appointed to this Committee by the Speaker of the Assembly, Asm. Anthony Rendon. Patricia brings her perspective as an immigrant and a mother of two children to the Committee which is comprised of a diverse group of parents from across the state, including single parents, foster parents, and parents with lived experience in public-benefit programs.
The Parent Advisory Committee meeting began with a welcome from Kris Perry, Deputy Secretary of Early Childhood Development in the California Health and Human Services Agency. Ms. Perry discussed how the voices of parents have been crucial in developing policies and recommendations for the Governor’s Master Plan for Early Learning and Care and described how the Parent Advisory Committee’s input will help guide the Master Plan process.
Following the introduction and an overview of the Master Plan, the Committee was asked to consider two key issues to help guide the Master Planning process:
- How to prioritize care to the most vulnerable families
- How to simplify and streamline the system
The Committee had a robust discussion on both topics. Below are some of the key points discussed:
- Many families in “vulnerable populations” have overlapping needs and experiences. For example, young people in the foster care system may experience involvement with the child welfare and criminal justice system, housing instability, and being a very young parent.
- The needs of Black children and families should be considered and prioritized.
- Systems of support need to be coordinated and focused on helping families rather than ensuring compliance. Suggestions to improve systems included:
- Universal applications for aid,
- Use of navigators to help families access needed supports,
- Better training and lower caseloads for case workers,
- Better connection of data systems to prevent families from having to provide the same information multiple times,
- Information materials in multiple languages.
- Supportive services should start as early as possible, ideally during or even before pregnancy.
The Master Plan team was very appreciative of the comments and indicated that they would follow up with Committee members for individual interviews to gather additional feedback.
- The next ECPC meeting is on August 24, 2020.
- The next Parent Advisory Committee meeting will be scheduled in September.
More information about the ECPC and upcoming meetings can be found here.