Colton – On May 13th, Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes’s (D-Colton) budget request to extend the waiver of child care family fees was included in Governor Newsom’s May Revision. The waiver, which was set to expire in June of this year, is now proposed for extension through June of 2023.
“The pandemic has shown us just how much our families and economy depend on our child care infrastructure,” said Majority Leader Reyes. “With pandemic relief programs ending and costs increasing with inflation, it is critical that we extend the family fee waiver to provide families continued financial relief. While I applaud the Governor for including the extension of this waiver in the May Revision, I urge him and my colleagues in the Legislature to waive family fees through 2024, as permitted under federal law.”
Last year, Majority Leader Reyes introduced AB 92 to waive family fees during the pandemic, in order to provide relief to families struggling to afford subsidized child care. While the Governor’s Budget Act of 2021 waived these fees through June of 2022, it did not include funding to extend the waiver in future years.
The family fee waiver has allowed parents to save an estimated average of $250 per month, with hundreds of families saving $600 per month in fees they would have otherwise paid for child care.
“For families like Micaela Mota’s, it means being home for bedtime and reading with her toddler instead of working a second job,” stated Mary Ignatius, statewide organizer with Parent Voices California and co-sponsor of AB 92. “Kaitlyn Hudson, a mom of two, can continue to pursue her dream of finishing college while working full-time because the unaffordable fees won’t be a barrier. In one year, Maria Antonieta Jandres eliminated debt from four credit cards with record high interest rates and can now rebuild her credit score. These waivers provide improved mental and financial health at a time of continued uncertainty due to the pandemic, and with the cost of living rising while wages remain the same.”
In order to provide continued relief to families, Majority Leader Reyes authored a budget request for the Governor to extend the family fee waiver through 2024. The Governor’s May Revision included $157 million to waive family fees for an additional year, through June of 2023.
“Another year of fees waived is a huge win for families, but families need relief beyond next year,” said Dr. LaWanda Wesley. “California has the opportunity to waive these through 2024, as permitted by the American Rescue Act of 2021. We urge the Governor to extend the waiver through 2024 so parents can continue to afford subsidized child care.”
“Giving families a break from paying child care fees will help thousands of families overcome the hardship of the pandemic,” said Laurie Furstenfeld with the Child Care Law Center. “It is a significant step for racial justice. These fees have hurt Black, Brown, and immigrant families for many years.”
“We have an opportunity to create a child care system that equitably serves all Californians, and especially our communities of color,” said Majority Leader Reyes. “I am excited to continue championing AB 92 this year to make affordable child care a reality for Californians, and I look forward to partnering with Governor Newsom and my colleagues in the Legislature to extend the waiver of family fees through 2024.”