The Parent Advisory Committee of the Early Childhood Policy Council (ECPC) met on Tuesday, March 23 to elect two members to serve on the general ECPC and to discuss the California Department of Social Services Child Care Transition Plan.
Policy Committee members elected Mary Ignatius and Lissete Frausto, both members of the advocacy organization Parent Voices, to serve as Parent representatives on the ECPC.
During the discussion of the Child Care Transition Plan, Committee members heard from parents across California about their most pressing needs as California transitions the majority of its child care systems from the California Department of Education to the California Department of Social Services. The most commonly-cited concerns were:
- The waiting list for subsidized child care can be years-long, with some parents not receiving a slot after a decade on the list. Providing sufficient slots to eliminate the waiting list is a top priority.
- Parents need a simple and reliable way to be able to search for available child care and to view where their application is in the process.
- Parents want access to a variety of care. One parent stated that more vouchers for informal Family, Friend, and Neighbor providers would be helpful as she preferred for family to care for her infant, while another stated that there were no center-based child care options in her neighborhood, which she desired for her children.
- Parent fees are burdensome to parents trying to lift their families out of poverty.
- The current income structure requires parents to choose between advancing in their career and keeping the child care that makes that career possible.
Communication and Respect
- Better communication among social services programs would significantly help individuals who are seeking assistance. Many parents were inappropriately dropped from programs or did not receive services for which they were eligible due to caseworkers failing to communicate with each other or with the parent.
- Many parents feel that the current system is focused on preventing fraud, rather than supporting families, and felt that it is degrading and racist. Parents want respectful support rather than judgement from case managers and service providers.
Early Edge congratulates Mary Ignatius and Lissete Frausto for their election to the ECPC. The next Parent Advisory Committee meeting will be scheduled in the summer.