Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 234, the “Keeping Kids Close to Home Act,” by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley. SB 234 will expand childcare opportunities for California families and reduce costs and red tape for home childcare providers statewide.
“Family childcare homes are an accessible and affordable way to provide the care our children need,” Sen. Skinner said. “But neighborhood childcare providers have increasingly been pushed out by rising costs and onerous licensing requirements. SB 234 eases the permit process for family childcare homes.”
Research has shown that quality early childhood education care provides kids with a strong foundation for the future, resulting in greater brain development, better academic and economic achievement, and lower incidences of illness. Yet licensed childcare is only available for 23% of children with working parents in California. The rising cost makes it even more unattainable. In the Bay Area, the cost of childcare jumped from $1,000 to $1,500 a month from 2014 to 2018.
Under SB 234, large family daycare homes that provide care to up to 14 children will receive the same exemptions under local neighborhood zoning and permitting laws that small family daycare homes now enjoy. Some forward-thinking cities and counties already provide these exemptions, and with SB 234, they’ll be available to large family daycare homes statewide.
“We thank Governor Newsom, Senator Skinner, and the State Legislature for their support and dedication to making sure that every child has a strong start in life,” said Kim Kruckel, executive director of the Child Care Law Center. “We are all working hard to provide the best for our children. We need childcare we can rely on from providers we trust. This new law makes it clear that California values and supports quality childcare close to home, in all our communities.”
SB 234 also affirms California’s commitment to fostering home-based childcare in neighborhood settings that can contribute positively to a child’s emotional, cognitive, and educational development.
The new law also directs the California Department of Social Services to inform childcare providers that they can file for protections under the Fair Employment and Housing Act if they are treated unfairly by their landlords. Childcare homeowners have the right to seek protections under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, but many are not aware that these protections exist.
“Quality, licensed childcare provided by a nearby neighbor is something every working parent deserves,” Skinner added. “SB 234 helps ensure that more childcare homes are available to the working families who need it.”
SB 234 won overwhelming bipartisan support in both the state Assembly (77-0) and the Senate (39-0). It will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
Sen. Nancy Skinner represents the 9th Senate District.