A New Law in California Expands the Access to Subsidized Child Care


A new law that has been enacted in California could make access to subsidized child care easier to eliminate obstacles for parents trying to succeed in the job market. This law would specifically be of great help to low-income parents taking classes to complete high school or to learn English. The bill is set to expand the requirements for subsidized child care eligibility. It will enable parents who are in the low-income bracket place their children under subsidized care.

This group of eligible parents include people who are enrolled in classes for English as a second language (ESL), general education development certificate (GED) certificate candidates and those in a high school diploma program. In the past, some ESL parents had been considered for the award of subsidized care. However, being a parent taking classes on ESL had not been formally identified as a factor that would qualify you for the eligibility to the subsidy program.

Families that are classified as low income and who are participants in such vocational training can qualify for subsidized state child services under the existing law. Vocational training which is also known as career technical education offers training for the workforce and directly leads to a career in professional fields such as office management and healthcare. However, advocates say that the law was not clear on which technical courses that qualified for vocational training. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law last month, and it addresses a significant obstacle that low-income parents face on a daily basis. Such parents always find it difficult to pay or even find child care as they attend school to improve on skills that would make them relevant in the job market.

One of the policy analysts for the California Budget and Policy Centre, Kristen Schumacher, said that having GED and ESL classes included in the eligibility criteria for child care was common sense. She said the affected law would help many low-income parents overcome the challenges of self-sufficiency and securing employment opportunities.

Another advocate with Parent Voices, Jennifer Greppi, said that the new law would go a long way in ensuring that all child care centers interpreted eligibility for the program in the same way. English as a second language was accepted by some child care centers while others did not accept it. Greppi said that some parents were denied eligibility for the subsidy program despite the fact that they were in vocational training.