What can San Diego do?

The good news is, employers, policymakers and funders want change and there are opportunities for local action.

Addressing the workforce + child care crisis requires an “all hands on deck approach”

Local Calls to Action

Expand the supply of child care

Make sure it’s high quality and meets working parents’ needs

Make more jobs family friendly

Working parents need support from employers (public, private, nonprofit, large, small – all of them)

Leave no state or federal money on the table

We need every dollar we can get

Think P-3 (prenatal to third grade)

Link and align early childhood with early elementary to build a continuum of services for families with young children

Serve and support whole families (2Gen)

Parents need jobs, children need quality care and education, families need homes, healthcare, transportation and more

Spark innovation

The child care sector is ready for change
 

1.

Expand the supply of child care

Make sure it’s high quality and meets working parents’ needs

To encourage the opening of more licensed child care options, county supervisors, city councils and local governments can:

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Incentivize housing and commercial developers to include child care space (through relaxed height limits, reduced fees and accelerated approval, for example)

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Identify excess buildings and land for new child care options through public-private partnerships

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Rent space to child care providers at low or no cost

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Incentivize employers to provide on-site (or adjacent) child care

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Facilitate the establishment of more licensed home-based child care programs

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Streamline permitting and inspection processes for new, expanding and renovating child care facilities

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Provide low-cost or no-cost facilities financing for new and upgraded facilities

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Provide local subsidies for child care that help working families in the “chasm”

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Support the viability of child care careers through wage subsidies and career development (it won’t help to build more child care if there are not enough excellent teachers to staff them)

School districts, community colleges and universities can:

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Identify excess buildings and land for new child care and after school options

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Include the construction of child care and after school facilities in capital bonds

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Rent space to child care and after school providers at low or no cost

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Maximize the availability of transitional kindergarten and full-day kindergarten

Foundations and philanthropists can:

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Make grants to pay for facilities renovations, furniture and supplies

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Make grants to pay for feasibility studies for providers considering expansion

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Participate in the capital stack for facilities financing through program related investments from endowments

 

2.

Make more jobs family friendly

Working parents need support from employers (public, business, nonprofit, large, small – all of them)

All of us with employees who are parents can:

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Make work hours/schedules as predictable as possible, to enable parents to make child care arrangements and help families budget (by making earnings more consistent week-to-week)

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Provide generous paid-time-off or sick leave benefits because parents need to stay home when children are sick and therefore excluded from child care and school

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Provide (and help employees utilize) dependent care flexible spending account and/or dependent care assistance plans

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Provide paid leave for new parents (mothers and fathers), to augment or extend the leave provided by California’s paid family leave program

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Explore options for on-site or work-adjacent child care that is provided at a discount and/or waitlist preference for your employees

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Consider part-time and/or flexible hours arrangements for parents of young children

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Support workplace lactation beyond the requirements of the law

 

3.

Leave no state or federal money for early childhood on the table

We need every dollar we can get

California and the federal government recognize the need to invest more in early childhood. As new funding and programs are created, our region needs to capture every single dollar available to us—which we are not currently doing.

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Set up new child care programs co-funded by the Navy to help meet the desperate need for child care for military and civilian families working at local naval bases by helping providers with start-up costs.

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Apply for new state funding for full-day state preschool by helping providers secure facilities for the programs.

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Submit lots of applications for upcoming state child care facilities grants by helping local providers tee-up facilities plans.

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Rapidly deploy to families any additional funding from the state for child care vouchers (the Alternative Payment Program)

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Maximize school district offerings of transitional kindergarten and full-day kindergarten so we capture all available state education funding for young children.

 

4.

Think P-3 (prenatal to third grade)

Link and align early childhood with early elementary to build a continuum of services for families with young children

School districts are major stakeholders in the early childhood system – as recipients of children who have received quality care…or not…and as providers of (or contractors for) preschool, child care and out-of-school-time care. In addition to the supply expansion role under call-to-action #1, school districts can:

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Make every effort to support working parents through easy-to-access before and after school and summer programs, evening and weekend parent-teacher conferences and school events and co-located community services at schools

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Maximize provision of Transitional Kindergarten and full-day Kindergarten (which amount to free child care for working parents)

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Build alliances with early childhood providers to support their quality, align curricula and ease the transition from preschool to kindergarten

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Advocate for quality early childhood programs as a key strategy to support future school success

 

5.

Serve and support whole families (2Gen)

Parents need jobs, children need quality care and education, families need homes, healthcare, transportation and more

Low wage working parents qualify for a range of public supports, but the major federal and state funding streams that support workforce development, child care affordability and child support enforcement are completely siloed. Working parents spend too much time navigating our broken systems. We can decide locally to serve families together instead of children and parents separately. We can:

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Streamline enrollment and eligibility so that parents qualify automatically or easily for workforce + child care

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Prioritize parents engaged in workforce development services for child care supports…and vice versa

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Redouble partnerships that support student parents to ensure they finish their degree and secure family-wage employment alongside child care

 

6.

Spark innovation

The early childhood sector is ready for change

Thoughtful philanthropy and social impact investments can nurture innovation through actions such as:

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Support and participate in advocacy for greater public investment in early childhood

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Invest in our region’s systems for helping parents find quality care

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Help the early childhood workforce through efforts to improve pay and increase longevity in the field

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Fund transition and transaction costs so that quality providers can expand to serve more families

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Help existing providers improve their quality through facilities investments and other changes that will result in better child and family outcomes

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Foster networks and alignment to ensure continuous learning and efficient use of resources

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Join The San Diego’s Foundation’s Early Childhood Education & Development Initiative

Acknowledgments

A special thank you to YMCA Childcare Resource Service (YMCA CRS), San Diego’s child care resource and referral agency, for their input and for sharing important data for this report.

Additionally, we would like to thank the parents and key stakeholders that took the time to provide valuable input into our research and this report:

  • Alethea Arguilez, First 5 San Diego
  • Laura Dietrich, University of San Diego
  • Deona Dorsey, San Diego Workforce Partnership
  • Kim Flowers and Staci Schultz, Neighborhood House Association Head Start
  • Bryanna Fornerod, Department of Child Support Services
  • Alana Kalinowski, 211 San Diego
  • Robin Layton, Educational Enrichment Systems, Inc.
  • Kim McDougal and Laurie Han, YMCA Childcare Resource Service
  • Brenda Quezada, South Metro Career Center
  • Rick Richardson, Child Development Associates
  • San Diego Area Parents: Brent, Clay, Charlene, Famo, Lisa, Stephany, Suley

Primary report authors:  Laura Kohn, San Diego Workforce Partnership; Rebecca Alvarez, NP Strategies; Melinda Chiment, NP Strategies

Report design: Ashley Lewis Design

This report was produced through generous funding and in partnership with the Early Childhood Education and Development Initiative at The San Diego Foundation, led by Katie Rast.