LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Parents with two children in Los Angeles County pay nearly half their wages for child care, according to a new report issued Monday.
The report, produced every five years by the Los Angeles County Child Care Planning Committee, the Los Angeles County Office for the Advancement of Early Care and Education and First 5 LA, also found that that licensed early care and education centers are able to serve just one in seven working parents.
“There is an extreme gap between the number of working families with infants and toddlers and the capacity of licensed early care and education providers to care for those children,” said Michele Sartell, child care planning coordinator for the County of Los Angeles Office for the Advancement of Early Care and Education. “Our intention with this report is twofold: identify the magnitude of the problems parents face in accessing quality preschool and child care, and identify workable solutions for policy makers at the local, state and federal level to address these repeated gaps in our early care and education system.”
Income eligibility requirements for subsidized child care are frozen at 2007-08 state median income levels, the reported noted. The authors recommended an update to the guidelines to reflect the current state median income.
To increase the number of licensed child care providers, the report says there should be an increase in state and federal investments in child care subsidy programs, especially for infants and toddlers.
Additionally, the pay for the early care and education workforce is less than half of what kindergarten teachers make and is part of the reason there is a shortage of licensed child care providers.
To create incentives for more people to go into the field, the report recommends raising regional market rates and standard reimbursement rates for early care and education providers and advocates for the adoption of a single statewide reimbursement rate for all providers that covers the “true cost of care.”
The report also recommended expanding free and low-cost professional development opportunities and pathways to pursue higher education, in order to encourage more providers to earn an associates or bachelor’s degree.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)