Learning Policy Institute on CA’s ECE System
Early care and education (ECE) can have a positive effect on many aspects of children’s development, including the language, literacy, mathematics, executive functioning, and social-emotional competencies needed for a smooth transition into kindergarten and later life success. But for many families, high-quality ECE is out of reach. For a family of three earning $40,000 a year, child care costs roughly 20% of household income; for a single parent earning the minimum wage, that number is 50%. California has established a range of programs to support the development of children from birth to age 5, but these programs are uncoordinated, insufficient in scope, and of variable quality. This report provides a comprehensive overview of the state’s ECE system, describing its administration and funding, access to care, program quality, and data limitations.