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Governor Brown Vetoes AB 60, leaving families without continuous child care

On September 30, 2018, Governor Brown had his last chance to give low-income families the continuous affordable child care promised to them. He failed. In his AB 60 veto message, he acknowledged that, “This is a good goal, as any [interruption] in child care coverage for a family can be devastating, particularly for working parents in the CalWORKS program.” An interruption in child care for these families is not only devastating — it is illegal.

AB 60 clarified existing law that already guarantees the right to uninterrupted child care as working parents leave the CalWORKs program.  AB 60 was a common sense, technological solution that would ensure the law was carried out so that its purpose of protecting access to child care was realized.

California law already states that eligible families are supposed to get CalWORKs child care for up to two years after leaving cash aid. Governor Brown estimated that better implementation of existing law could potentially cost $50 million per year. The Governor views his veto as an opportunity to save money, however this comes at the expense of depriving California’s lowest income families of the child care to which they are guaranteed. Every year, the state fails to budget the money to fulfill its child care promise, and our children suffer. More families fall through the cracks and remain in poverty.

Parent Voices worked closely with county welfare departments and child care subsidy administrators to identify a simple solution to the complex challenges parents face in keeping affordable child care as they make their way through the program. “The burden of instability of this system is falling on the backs of our most vulnerable women and children, predominantly low income mothers of color who are working multiple jobs while pursuing higher education for themselves and early education for their young children,” stated Mary Ignatius, Statewide Organizer of Parent Voices CA.

This bill passed without opposition in both houses of the Legislature and was broadly supported across women’s groups, labor and welfare rights organizations, and more. Patti Prunhuber, Senior Policy Attorney at the Child Care Law Center noted, “We are disappointed that the Governor rejected this broadly endorsed solution that was the top recommendation of the Department of Social Services and Department of Education Interagency Workgroup on CalWORKs Child Care. We look forward to working with the next administration to right this wrong.”

“When we listened to Parent Voices’ presentation on their member recommendations to improve the CalWORKs program, we were impressed.  We immediately wanted to work with them because of our shared values and focus on solutions.  We will continue to support this solution next year,” reflected Frank Mecca, Executive Director of the California Welfare Directors Association.

We look forward to implementing a vision for social policy reform that is informed by the parents who have the greatest expertise in navigating these systems. Together with the next Governor, Legislature, and our community partners, we will promote two-generation policy change that sets our most vulnerable families up for success.  Reliable, affordable child care creates stability and opens opportunities for children, families, and communities.