Shrinking Investments Yield Smaller Returns

Amidst the politics of austerity, California has made staggering cuts to the early care and education sector, resulting in lost opportunities for children to be educated, parents to continue working, and members of the early care and education workforce to remain employed and contributing to the state’s economic recovery.

During the Great Recession from 2008–2011, the State cut funding for early care and education programs by $1.2 billion, resulting in the loss of access to vital early education programs for over 100,000 children across the state. Every single early care and education program has faced significant budget cuts, including some programs that have faced budget cuts as high as 67% of their original funding levels. This has a profound impact on the ability of families – particularly low-income families – to survive economically.

In an era of scarce public resources, California must spend wisely and prioritize investments that pay off. The maps in this report provide a concrete view of where and how our state has chosen to invest—and divest—in its children, its working families and its workforce, and how it might re-deploy those resources in the future.

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