LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles County is home to roughly 370,000 babies and toddlers, and half are eligible for state-subsidized early learning programs. However, only 6% (nearly 12,000) of income-eligible babies and toddlers in LA County are served by state subsidies, and the early education sector is unable to meet this need — a need that is even more acute in working-class communities. In response, today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, to determine which County-owned properties could be used to build new early care and education facilities, and what unused County-owned buildings or rooms could be converted to provide child care services.

“Children in Los Angeles County, especially those from working-class families, are missing learning and developmental opportunities necessary for school readiness and, ultimately, for successful lives,” said Supervisor Solis. “Sadly, the children that need these early childhood resources are the ones most often left behind. Today’s action begins a comprehensive review of what County properties could be utilized to mitigate this growing crisis, and ensure every child begins their educational journey on equal footing to their peers.”

“Too many families have had to put their children on waiting lists for overcrowded early education programs,” said Supervisor Hahn. “Many of these programs would like to expand if they could and we want to help them by identifying County buildings that these programs could use.”

By increasing access to affordable early care and education, LA County will provide key support and opportunities for not only the child, but for parents as well.  Research demonstrates that high quality child care increases parents’ labor force participation, helps them obtain more stable jobs, and increases their income. Child care is equally important to the County’s broad and collaborative effort to reduce homelessness and the housing crisis throughout the County.

Research shows that 90% of a baby’s brain is developed by the age of five. Therefore, high-quality early care and education programs have a tremendous impact on a baby’s future academic performance, doing better on standardized tests in reading and math, are less likely to be placed in special education or held back a grade, and are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college. However, according to the LA County Child Care Planning Committee 2017 Needs Assessment, California is providing affordable baby and toddler early learning experiences to less than 14% of eligible families — and 6% of LA County baby and toddlers, less than the state average, are served by state subsidies.

CONTACT: Michael Kapp, Communications Director, (213) 974-4111 or MKapp@bos.lacounty.gov