Meeting Our Child Care Challenges

Dear Constituent,

Last week, I was honored to be a featured speaker at a White House gathering of state leaders to talk about the Biden-Harris Administration’s child care initiatives and California’s nation-leading efforts to make child care more affordable and ensure that child care providers are paid better.

As you may be aware, the pandemic caused many child care facilities to close. Many have struggled since to reopen, facing increased costs and child care staff that need better pay. The loss of child care facilities that families relied on has been devastating not only to families but also to many California employers. Without child care, many parents can’t go to work, exacerbating employers’ workforce shortages.

Recognizing this challenge, the state Senate, Gov. Newsom, and the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, of which I am chair, made funding child care a top priority in this year’s state budget. We increased state funding for child care and school based preschools by $2.9 billion, making California’s total investment in child care roughly $6.5 billion in the 2023-24 state budget. This record-funding enabled Gov. Newsom and child care providers to recently reach a historic agreement, raising pay and providing first-in-the-nation retirement benefits for child care workers.

To help families who struggle to afford childcare, another major achievement in this year’s budget was ensuring that families who receive a voucher to help cover child care costs either pay no additional fee or a fee capped at 1% of the family’s monthly income. Beginning Oct. 1 of this year, families who receive child care vouchers whose income is below 75% of the state’s median income will pay no fees, and families at or above 75% of state median income will pay no more than 1% of their monthly income. Additionally, the budget authorizes child care providers and state preschools to forgive all fee debt that families owed from the past.

California’s accomplishments in child care build on the Biden-Harris American Rescue Plan, which made free child care for low-income families possible during the pandemic. California’s successes are also the product of long-term advocacy by child care workers and providers, children advocacy organizations, parent advocates, and the Legislative Women’s Caucus. We were also fortunate to have Gov. Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom make the early care and education of our littlest ones a high priority.

For families with 4-year-olds, it’s also worth noting that this year’s budget continues the rollout of transitional kindergarten (TK) in our public schools. As of this fall school year, children who turn age 5 between Sept. 2, 2023 and April 2, 2024 will now be eligible for TK.

Of course, there is much more to do to support our child care system, families, and parents. And I am confident that our state Legislative Women’s Caucus will continue to find great partners in legislative leaders and Governor Newsom’s administration, as we continue to work together to ensure equitable child care and quality early care and education for all of California’s children, 0 to 4.

It is an honor serving you in the state Senate.




Nancy Skinner
State Senator, District 9
Chair, Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee
Chair, CA Legislative Women’s Caucus