On April 26, the Early Childhood Policy Council (ECPC) hosted a second special session to continue the discussion of the Council’s priorities within the 2021-22 State Budget. The purpose of this meeting was to review and provide feedback to a draft letter that had been crafted based on the budget priority survey results and discussion at the March 17th special session. Mayra Alvarez, President of The Children’s Partnership, and Mary Ignatius, Statewide Organizer for Parent Voices, worked together to draft the letter. Only two members of ECPC could work on drafting the letter due to Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act requirements. Accordingly, the purpose of this special session was to walk through the letter line-by-line to receive feedback and reactions from the full Council.
The letter focused on two main priorities expressed by the Council, and under each priority contained specific actions.
- We must ensure there is equitable access to services and supports for families to ensure a successful recovery from the pandemic, particularly marginalized populations including, migrant families, homeless families, children with disabilities, tribal families, dual language learners, and those experiencing generational poverty.
- We must adequately support all early childhood professionals that care for California’s young children by providing financial, economic, and housing supports for child care providers including compensation, benefits, sick leave, and retirement.
Letter Reactions and Feedback
The general reaction to the budget priority letter was positive. Many expressed gratitude for the work it took to get it to this place and thought that it reflected the priorities of the ECPC. As the Council walked through the letter, members provided feedback on each priority. Many suggestions were made on how to strengthen the language to be more actionable and directive. Several suggested that the letter should more specifically call-out underserved populations, such as Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and foster youth, in order to underscore the importance of equity in these priorities. There was also a consensus from the Council that the letter needed to call out Early Learning in addition to Child Care. Lastly, members decided that it was important for the letter to call for just wages for the Early Learning and Care workforce, as well as professional development and supports, but add qualifying language to the letter to ensure that these two critical items are not pitted against each other.
Edits to the letter will be made based on the discussion at the special session, with a goal of sending it to the Governor’s Office to influence the May Revision. The next ECPC meeting will be held on June 9th.