This week, the California State Senate passed the 2021-2022 state budget ahead of the constitutional deadline.

As chair of the Senate Education Committee and chair emeritus of the Legislative Women’s Caucus -- and a vocal and determined advocate for increasing funding for child care -- I am thrilled by the inclusion of more than $2 billion in one-time and ongoing funds for child care reimbursement rate reform, as proposed in Senate Bill 246 (Leyva).

This investment in our child care workforce is critical to ensure that parents are able to get back to work, which will in turn help solidify the economic recovery of both the state and California families.

This funding for child care will certainly help women -- and particularly women of color -- as many care providers worked throughout the pandemic earning less than the minimum wage and even less than they would have on unemployment.

We must right this wrong and pay child care providers a fair and living wage for the important work they do with our young children.

As I have noted many times before, it is vital that we invest in child care providers since, without quality and affordable child care, there will be no lasting recovery as parents -- and particularly working moms -- will not be able to work.

This investment will help working families in every community across the 20th State Senate District and California.

I have fought for reimbursement rate reform for three years and I believe that -- with the Legislature prioritizing this issue in this budget -- now is the time to come together to make lasting and substantial change to the child care industry for the benefit of children, women, families, businesses and our economy.

(State Sen. Connie Leyva represents the 20th District, which includes Fontana.)

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