Becker Bill to Send More Money To Childcare Programs Clears Committee Hurdle
SB 608 Updates “Kids’ Plates” Programs To
Increase Funding For Local Child Health & Safety Programs
(SACRAMENTO) – Steering more money to programs that focus on addressing childhood injuries and illnesses is the goal of SB 608 by Senator Josh Becker (D-San Mateo), which passed the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday on 14-0 vote. The bill updates the Kids’ Plates program both by raising fees for the “Have a Heart, Be a Star, Help Our Kids” license plates that people can buy and changing the distribution formula to ensure money is equally distributed across all 58 counties to improve health outcomes for California’s kids.
“Supporting local childcare planning councils and county commissions that care for California’s children is essential,” said Becker. “It’s been 30 years since we created and set the funding levels for this program, so updating it is critical to get our children and childcare providers the support they need. SB 608 increases funding for Kids’ Plates and makes the program much more accessible to groups that provide much needed children’s health and safety training to childcare providers throughout the state.”
The Kids’ Plates program is funded through sale of specialty license plates that have a heart, a star, a handprint, or a plus-sign shape on them. Since the program was created in 1992, over $60 million has been raised for child safety programs, bur because the fees haven’t kept pace with inflation, funding for the program has lagged. In the last two years, only 15 counties have successfully accessed Kids’ Plates funds and in 2018, California only had enough childcare providers to meet 23% of its childcare needs.
SB 608 increases the cost of the specialty license plates and reallocates the money to local childcare and development planning councils to support their efforts to recruit new childcare providers, as well as conduct safety and education training. The bill also will provide all 58 counties with money to help pay for their unintentional childhood injury programs, making sure the Kids’ Plates program helps all of California’s children.
“As the original sponsors of the Kids’ Plates program, SB 608 contains the best thinking of many children and family health and safety experts in how to make the program more equitable and improve children’s safety across the state,” said Steve Barrow, the head of the California Coalition for Children’s Safety and Health.
SB 608 is expected to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee in April.
First elected in 2020, Senator Becker represents the 13th Senate District covering portions of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties and includes the cities of Atherton, Belmont, Half Moon Bay, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Mountain View, Pacifica, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, and Woodside.
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