In September 2016, Governor Brown approved Assembly Bill 2368, authorizing an individualized child care subsidy plan for the County of Santa Clara. Authored by Assemblymember Rich Gordon and co-sponsored by the Santa Clara Office of Education and Kidango, the legislation allows Santa Clara County to develop and implement a plan through July 2022. Modeled on similar bills, especially AB833 for Alameda County, the legislation removes some of the regulatory constraints in providing subsidized child care through Title 5 contracts with the California Department of Education (CDE). Under AB2368, the individualized child care plan is designed to “ensure that child care subsidies received by the County of Santa Clara are used to address local needs, conditions, and priorities of working families in the community.” AB2368 provides the county only limited flexibility in designing its subsidy rules. There are four fundamental limitations on the pilot:
- No family who would have been eligible under state rules can either become ineligible or be asked to pay higher family fees;
- Provider participation is entirely voluntary;
- The number of child days of enrollment across participating providers must increase overall from the base year; and
- There are no additional resources for the pilot – only unearned and unallocated funds from existing contracts and funding streams.
Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, County Superintendent of Schools for the Santa Clara County Office of Education said, "Our priority is to increase access to high quality preschool and childcare for low-income children and their families. Raising the monthly and annual income thresholds for families ensures that more families can attend."
In Santa Clara County, a family of four with a monthly maximum income of $5,922 and a maximum annual income of $71,064 now qualifies. Previously, State Median Income figures were used of a maximum monthly income of $4,877 and an annual income of $58,524 for a family of four.
SUBSIDY PILOT CONTRACTORS
Through the careful development of the Individualized County Childcare Subsidy Plan, Santa Clara County aims to address major challenges in the child care subsidy system to better meet needs and priorities of families and childcare contractors in the County.