Child Care Availability Declines
Research on school readiness and children’s brain development confirms the importance of high quality early education and care programs for children’s future success in school and life. In addition, affordable child care is essential for working families to maintain economic self-sufficiency. Early care and education has been shown to be an efficient and effective investment for economic and workforce development, with an estimated return of $7 for every $1 invested. This indicator measures child care availability and costs by tracking the supply and demand of licensed child care spaces, and the availability of subsidies for low-income families.
How is San Bernardino County Doing?
Between 2014 and 2016, demand for child care increased while the number of spaces available at licensed child care facilities in San Bernardino County decreased:
- There was a 15% decrease in the number of spaces at licensed child care centers (center-based) and a 24% decrease in the number of spaces at licensed family child care homes (home-based).
- The long-term trend is also downward. Between 2008 and 2016, there was an 11% decrease in the number of licensed center-based spaces and a 51% decrease in the number of licensed home-based spaces.
- The need far outpaces supply. In 2016, there were enough licensed child care spaces for only 15% of children ages 12 and younger with parents in the labor force. This rate was 19% in 2014 and 21% in 2012.
- This is the lowest rate among neighboring counties and the California average of 23%.
- In 2018, there were 28,290 children ages 12 and younger who received federal or state subsidized child care in San Bernardino County, with an additional 14,851 children eligible for subsidized care on the California Child Care Alternative Payment Program waiting lists.
County Percent San Diego 27 Orange 25 California 23 Los Angeles 22 Riverside 18 San Bernardino 15
California has developed the CA-QRIS (California-Quality Rating & Improvement System) Framework that sets standards of quality for licensed child care programs. Across California, counties are using these standards to develop local QRISs to increase the quality of early learning programs for thousands of children.
Quality Start San Bernardino County (QSSB) is a partnership of early learning partners, educators, and champions who are working together to increase the quality of local early learning programs for San Bernardino County’s youngest children through the development of a QRIS. Quality Start San Bernardino Partners include:
- First 5 San Bernardino
- San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools
- Child Care Resource Center
- California State University, San Bernardino
- County of San Bernardino Preschool Services
QSSB providers who are rated receive a rating of 1 (Emerging Quality) to 5 (Highest Quality). Sites that are not rated receive quality improvement services until such time that they can be rated. In 2018, there were 184 sites participating in QRIS in San Bernardino County. More than half (103) of those sites received a quality rating and another 81 received quality improvement services. Participating sites are rated every two years and receive support and incentives to gain and maintain the highest ratings through the system.