Members join the fight for child care reform
Parent and provider activists rally at the Capitol in final push for child care reform bill

Parents and providers pushing for substantive relief in the state’s child care system are closer than ever to real reform and showed solidarity at a June 3 rally at the Capitol in a final push for SB 548, the Raising Child Care Quality and Accessibility Act.

Sponsored by Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, SB 548 seeks to fix California’s child care system and break the cycle of poverty caused by lack of quality, affordable care for families

Organized by the Raising California coalition of unions, child care providers, womens’ and community groups, the rally pushed to keep the bill top-of-mind for lawmakers. After a day of speakers including civil rights icon Dolores Huerta and a march where several activists participated in planned civil disobedience until they were arrested, SB 548 was the talk of the Capitol.

Local 1000 member Camille Mahan-Carr, a Stockton mother of three, told her personal tale of how California’s lack of quality, affordable child care affected her and her family. Unable to get stable early childhood care for her youngest son, now 8, who now struggles with learning disabilities that Mahan-Carr believes could have been recognized and helped if he had had quality early childhood education. She became active on the child care issue so other families don’t have to go through what she went through.

SB 548 would increase child care slots for the low-income families who use payment vouchers, establish new training partnerships with the state to improve quality of care, authorize a study of best practices and, importantly, extend collective bargaining rights to family child care providers to give them the power to advocate for themselves and for the families they serve.

The collective bargaining component benefits providers, students and parents alike, ensuring stable, reduced rates and a better quality of care. “Providers will be able to bring in more staff and more staff means more slots, said Mahan-Carr. “And, more resources will be available for learning materials for the children. “

SB 548 is poised to bring real reform to the state’s broken system. But, as Mahan-Carr points out, SB 548 should be the beginning of something larger “I’m feeling excited. I’m hoping our bill gets passed,” she said. “But I’m more so waiting on it to go national. They need to think of the next generation.”