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KPBS Midday Edition

California child care programs leave many families behind

A child plays at a YMCA aftercare program, Dec. 9, 2022.
Roland Lizarondo
A child plays at a YMCA after care program, Dec. 9, 2022.

As part of an effort to close a projected $22.5 billion deficit, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2023-2024 budget plan would delay funding for 20,000 new child care slots.

As parents of young children know, finding safe, affordable child care already feels like an impossible task. Staffing shortages, rising costs and COVID-19 forced one in eight child care businesses to close in San Diego County since March 2020.

A new analysis of California child care subsidy data as well as interviews with families and others by The San Diego Union-Tribune shows California's system of support for parents with young children has served only a small fraction of families and has missed hundreds of thousands of children who need it.


“The subsidies, basically the financial aid that does exist for families to help pay for child care — it hasn’t been fully funded," Union-Tribune reporter Kristen Taketa said. "There are thousands of families who qualify but don’t get the care because they have not gotten cleared off of the waiting list yet.”

Taketa, who covers K-12 education, joined Midday Edition on Monday to talk more about her reporting on child care resources for California families.