Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Eligible Latino and Asian Families Underutilizing Subsidized Childcare

According to research released by the California Budget and Policy Center, there are more than a million Latino children in California eligible to receive subsidized childcare, however, only 11 percent are actually enrolled. The same research also found more than 100,000 Asian children eligible, with only about an 8 percent enrollment rate.

“Many parents who speak a different language, as well as immigrant families, face significant barriers to access, and eligibility and reporting requirements to access these early learning programs are burdensome for families,” said Diana Chun, an early childhood education advocate at Early Edge.

In addition to the language and cumbersome procedural barriers to these programs, immigrant families may be reluctant to access government programs for which they qualify, due to the current climate of fear that has permeated from the Trump administration. With the Latino and Asian child population age rapidly growing, programs may not actually have the capacity or bandwidth to accommodate the growing number of eligible children.

“Three-year-olds do not get a do over, and it’s important that we focus on children during these early developmental years because their brain development sets the course for their life,” added Kristin Schumacher of the California Budget and Policy Institute. “It’s important we invest in children early because it has maximum results in the long term.”

Prioritization of early childhood care and education in underserved, low-income, and at-risk populations requires eliminating the need for families to navigate red tape, as well alleviating other barriers to the process. Early education is essential to preparing children academically, developmentally, and socially for school, college, and their careers down the line.

89.3 KPCC Online