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Our key allies in California are Catalyst California and Children Now. Catalyst California works alongside community partners to transform public systems and shift investments to achieve racial equity. Children Now takes a whole-child approach, supporting and connecting thousands of groups in California to create an unprecedented power base for young children birth through age 26, employing research, policy, advocacy from prenatal through age 26, including early childhood development, education, children’s health and mental health, childhood trauma and resilience, foster care, and youth justice.

2022 State Early Childhood Policy Environment and Progress

State early childhood policy progress is dependent both on the state’s policy environment and the numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

Policy Landscape:

State General Fund Appropriations: Declining 

Governor Gavin Newsom signed the state’s fiscal 2024 budget into law on June 27. The budget provides for total state expenditures (excluding federal funds) of $310.8 billion for fiscal 2024. This includes $225.9 billion in general fund spending, a 3.7 percent decline from fiscal 2023. The budget is based on a general fund revenue forecast of $208.7 billion for fiscal 2024, representing a 1.5 percent increase from fiscal 2023.1

Political Alignment: Aligned Democrat

During the session, the state’s Senate and House were both Democrat controlled. The state’s Governor was also a Democrat.2

Young Children in Low-Income Households: Declining

Approximately 38% (1,600,000) of the state’s children 0-8 live in households below 200% FPL. This number represents a decrease from 46% (2,100,000) in 2015.3

Racial Disparity Among Young Children Living in Low-Income Households: High

Non-White children 0-8 are significantly more likely to be living in households below 200% FPL.3

Advocacy Landscape:

Key state policy advocacy organizations include:

Early childhood policy advocacy multi-state initiatives present in the state include4:

2022 Policy Progress:

California had a historic budget surplus of $100 billion in the 2022-23 budget year which ushered in some major, one-time investments, but were hampered by constitutional limitations on spending over a certain amount (the Gann limit). Nevertheless, a major win includes the signing of SB 951, an extension and expansion of wage replacement so that low-income workers may take advantage of Paid Family Leave policies, once again putting CA back towards the top on the accessibility of PFL policies.

Highlights from the state’s early childhood policy advocacy community include5:

Advocates worked in coalition with partners and garnered the support of over 605 organizations via The Children’s Movement of California to advance key ECE budget items included in the final budget proposal, including a $157.3 million Family Fee Waiver for families receiving subsidized child care would not be burdened, $100 million for the Child Care and Development Infrastructure Grants, and more.

Children Now co-sponsored AB 1995 (Arambula) which would eliminate premiums and co-payments in Medi-Cal that impact children, pregnant individuals, and people with disabilities. The governor’s budget included an estimated $19 million General Fund ongoing investment that will zero out monthly Medi-Cal premiums to ensure over pregnant individuals and children can access the healthcare services that they need to stay healthy and thrive, benefitting over 500,000 children and pregnant people.

Advocates supported a one-time, $10-million appropriation to bring back the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program (BTPDP) and a one-time $20 million appropriation to continue the Educator Workforce Investment Grant program (EWIG) as part of the English Learner (EL) Roadmap Policy Implementation Grant Program to advance the work that has been done.

Advocates successfully supported the inclusion of $3.4 billion for Expanded Learning Opportunities in public schools, which benefit 4-year-olds in transitional kindergarten.

Advocates successfully supported a $50-million dollar increase for home visiting and Black Infant Health programs included in the budget in addition to a statutory change allowing for one-time dollars from $500 to $1000 for families in the CalWORKs home visiting program to enable them to purchase items needed for the safety and care of their young children.

Children Now also collaborated with partners to lead a budget request in the amount of $250 million general fund, one time, to support home and community-based support services for infants and toddlers to address mental health support and prevention. While the item was not adopted, advocates have continued to work with the $4 billion children and youth mental health initiative leaders to ensure key grants reflect a prioritization and focus on infants, toddlers and their caregivers.


California Advocacy Snapshot:

California Early Childhood Policy Advocacy

Hard Work in California Wins Continuing Expansions of Evidence-Based Home Visiting

Alliance for Early Success’ California ally, Children Now, continues to push for expansion of voluntary evidence-based home visiting in California. Read about the state’s significant progress that is projected to double evidence-based home visiting, and about the critical work still ahead that will reduce complexity across funding streams and set the foundation for further expansion over the long term.

Read More »


National Association of State Budget Officers, Summaries of Fiscal Year 2024 Enacted Budgets, October 11, 2023.

National Conference of State Legislatures, 2021 State & Legislative Partisan Composition, February 2, 2022.

Kids Count Data Center, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, December, 2020; NCCP Analysis of ACS 5-Year Estimates – Public Use Microdata Sample 2016-2020.

Alliance for Early Success, Multi-State Initiatives for Early Childhood Policy Advocacy, April, 2022.

Alliance for Early Success, State-Wide Advocacy Highlights Survey, April-September, 2022.  

2023 Grantee Policy Agenda:

The Alliance’s lead grantees in California, Catalyst California and Children Now, are working to advance early childhood policies in several areas: 

Early Care and Education

Child Care

Child Care Workforce

Preschool and Pre-K


Child and
Maternal Health

Infant & Child Health

Early Intervention (Age 0-3)


Family Economic Security


Click here for more information on advocates’ policy agenda.

More State Policy Data:


More State Demographic Data: