City Child Care Service Changes Lead to Questions

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child-care

Last week, an editorial in the local paper by Donita Stromgren and nine others questioned the loss of child care service programs “that have been a stable part of city services for more than 40 years.”

They write, “We are writing on behalf of a group of early childhood advocates who worked tirelessly for many years in Davis and Yolo County to bring forward child care services and support and enhance the quality of services provided. We are outraged to learn that without benefit of any public forum or transparency, the city of Davis eliminated a long-term and important service.

“We are further dismayed that during the transition to a new administrative entity, which took effect on July 1, families and child care providers in Davis and Yolo County have limited access to critically important child care support.”

The authors contend, “About 18 months ago, the city decided to return all these funds to the state Department of Education and discontinue administering the child care services. However, it did not inform the CDE until February 2015, which offered little time for a thoughtful and smooth transition of services.”

The subject was never discussed at a city council meeting, they continued. Ms. Stromgren, et al, ask, “So what happened to these services? Who even knows they are gone? Where do families and child care providers turn if they need assistance?”

The problem that the city faced was that child care funding was dropping to the point where the city was losing money on it.  It is not that the program disappeared, it is that the program was given back to the county, which, as an administrator of social services, would make a lot of sense.

The question may be one of how the program was transitioned.

Nevertheless, earlier this week, Stacey Winton, who is the Media and Communications Officer in the City Manager’s office, sent out a response.

She wrote, “Recently, an op-ed piece printed in the Davis Enterprise has generated confusion in the community about the existence and provision of Child Care Services, a state- and county-funded program to provide child care payment assistance to low-income Yolo County residents, as well as resource and referral information about child care services throughout Yolo County.  The City of Davis formerly managed these contracts.

“First and foremost, no services have been terminated,” she clarified. As of July 1, the State of California and Yolo County transferred the child care subsidy and resource and referral contract services from the City of Davis to Child Action, Inc. and Children’s Home Society of California.  Child Action, Inc. and Children’s Home Society of California were selected as the new providers by Yolo County and the State of California after a Request of Proposals process.”

Stacey Winton writes:

While for many decades the City was designated as the contracted service provider by Yolo County and the State of California Department of Education, the effect of State funding reductions over the last six years caused the City to reevaluate its ability to provide the service according to program requirements. In early 2014, the City began conversations with the County and State to transition the services to new providers to ensure the continuation of services for eligible Yolo County residents.  Both of the new providers have extensive experience with provision of the types of services required by the contracts. 

In working with Yolo County and the State of California to inform clients on the transition of services, every licensed child care facility in Yolo County received information on the new service providers. In addition every existing family and child care provider that was utilizing Child Care Services received information from the City and from the new service providers. The City worked diligently to inform clients about the transition to ensure clients understood their services were still intact and to inform clients of the new contact information for the new providers. The City has continued to provide transition support to families, providers, Child Action, Inc. and Children’s Home Society throughout the entire process.  Although the county-wide services are no longer housed with the City, they are available in Yolo County.  Over the last six months city staff also attended the Yolo County Child Care Planning Council meetings, First 5 Family Focus Forum, met with the Yolo County Library, Family Resource Centers, and attended other meetings to assist in informing other agencies in Yolo County about the transition.

Finally, it should be noted that the services provided are countywide; they are not solely for Davis residents.  In fact, most of the need for the services has historically been in other Yolo communities outside of Davis.  Child Action is occupying the same space the City vacated in Woodland and West Sacramento; Children’s Home Society will have established a physical presence within Yolo County by September 1, as is required by their contract with the State.

For more information about available services, the following is contact information for the new service providers:

Child Action, Inc. is the provider of the CalWORKs subsidy program in Yolo County. For more information contact Child Action, Inc. at (916) 369-0191 or email info@childaction.org.

Children’s Home Society of California is the provider of Resource and Referral Information and child care payment assistance in Yolo County. For Resource and Referral information call (800) 552-0400 or (530) 645-6265. For assistance with paying for child care, call (530) 645-6266. Children’s Home Society of California can also be reached via email at CHSYoloCounty@chs-cs.org.

Information about the new service providers can also be found on the City website at http://www.cityofdavis.org/city-hall/child-care-services

The City of Davis valued the opportunity to provide worthwhile services for all of Yolo County for over 40 years.  We are likewise confident that the two new providers will meet the same standards of excellence achieved by the City, and we look forward to their service to Yolo County residents.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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13 thoughts on “City Child Care Service Changes Lead to Questions”

  1. Davis Progressive

    the enterprise article referenced the changes to the recreation counter.  this is another example of the new city manager reverting changes made by the previous city manager without careful consideration.

    1. hpierce

      The previous CM (St Pinkerton) moved them, stupidly [IMO], for his personal agenda [or that of ‘another’].  A ‘correction’ may well be appropriate now.  I suspect that it was done under “careful consideration”, but you may see it otherwise.   Whatever.

  2. sisterhood

    There is a very quiet thought in Davis, held by many wealthy housewives and their wealthy husbands, that women should stay home full time to raise their kids. I admit I blew it by trying to work 40+ hours a week so I could afford my rental in North Davis. It didn’t work, my husband and I separated. However, I know many very happy couples in Davis who work part time. Both Mom and Dad. They seem to strike the balance that my husband and I were never able to do.

    There is a percentage of wealthy folks who believe that people should stay home with their kids and child care is not necessary. Ironically, many of these folks have hired full or part time nannies to raise their own kids. They pay for their own private child care, which they deny to others.

    The city run summer programs were a God send. Are they still in existence? Rainbow Summer, Camp Putah, Kids in the Kitchen, etc.? I sure hope so.

  3. Frankly

    People that like these city services better get on the bandwagon for reducing the labor costs of the city.  If they have previously defended and supported the compensation practices of the city, then they need to look in the mirror for having helped to cause what will be a continued erosion of services.

    I work directly with Federal government employees, and used to work directly with State government employees.   And I can tell you that ALL of them get to a point where they check out of being highly motivated to provide outstanding service, to being highly motivated to win that golden ticket early and rich retirement.  But after so many years they lose the ability to actually compare their situation with the rest of the working world… they deny that what they get is unfair and unsustainable.

    Recently a teacher friend of ours complained about the size of her pension.  CA education system employees can retire as early as age 50 with 30 years of service with a reduced benefit, but they can retire at age 60 @ 2%.  Usually employees also convert their unused sick leave (a very generous amount) and retire way before age 60.  This friend was complaining that she did not get healthcare benefits at retirement and about half her pension would pay for her healthcare premiums.

    This friend is a good and caring person but apparently unaware that the majority of people have to save for their own retirement healthcare premiums.

    If we want to keep up this unsustainable imbalance of retirement benefits for government employees, then more services will be cut.

    1. Miwok

      It is funny that the same people who argue to cut cut cut in City salary and pensions, also argue for a living wage, which nowadays includes many extras like ACA, which devastate the best laid plans, unless you are 20 and have a life ahead.

      1. Davis Progressive

        “It is funny that the same people who argue to cut cut cut in City salary and pensions, also argue for a living wage,”

        there is some overlap, but the two groups are not synonymous.

        1. hpierce

          yes, DP, they are not synonymous.

          But are you one who would argue for the cuts in city employee salary/compensation and argue for a “living wage”?  Yes, or no.

      2. Tia Will

        Miwok

        many extras like ACA”

        The ACA is only “an extra” for those who already had adequate health insurance from a company that covered people with “pre existing conditions” and would not rescind your policy as soon as you were diagnosed with a serious illness. For everyone else, health care is a necessity.

    2. Tia Will

      Frankly

      And I can tell you that ALL of them get to a point where they check out of being highly motivated to provide outstanding service, to being highly motivated to win that golden ticket early and rich retirement”

      And I can tell you that your “ALL” of them is in error. I know because one of the state employees that you are so busy claiming are only out for the “golden ticket” and “rich retirement” works far more hours than he is compensated for because of his dedication to his job. I know because he is my partner and does his before and after hours work at home, frequently ( confidentiality maintained) discussing his work in suicide prevention with me.

      I know it is your opinion that people who work in the private sector are necessarily more motivated, more caring, more engaged than those in the public sector. However, having worked in both public and private sectors, and having watched my own partner and many of his colleagues ( I see what time those emails come in) I can guarantee you that your 100% claim is wildly incorrect.

    3. sisterhood

      “…this friend is a good and caring person but apparently unaware that the majority of people have to save for their own retirement healthcare premiums.”

      Does this friend have a two tier retirement system? If so, she may have indeed “saved for her own retirement” by contributing some of her own money.  In 1986 I started working for the state of CA and chose tier one. I contributed (saved) a percentage of my earnings out of every paycheck. I retired at 56 years old, with approx. twenty five years of service in CA and eight years of service in Oregon.

      “And I can tell you that ALL of them get to a point where they check out of being highly motivated to provide outstanding service, to being highly motivated to win that golden ticket early and rich retirement”

      In my case, it was the opposite. My last job assignment was the most stimulating & fullfilling of my entire 33 year career.

    4. hpierce

      “CA education system employees can retire as early as age 50 with 30 years of service (so they became a teacher/employee @ 20 years old) with a reduced benefit, but they can retire at age 60 @ 2%”.  Really?  You must not mean a ‘teacher’, unless they were way gifted.  Usually a teacher is not credentialed (colledge graduate, at least one year in the credential program, assuming they get full-time status that year) until they are at least 23.  That’s a 10% error/mis-representation.

      I’ll give you this Frankly, if the same person, with the same education experience, talents, etc., serves in a private/parochial system, where outcomes for the ‘difficult’ students are much higher than in the public schools, the public school systems compensate during employment, and in retirement, MUCH (orders of magnitude) better than the CTA affilliated teachers.

  4. hpierce

    At the basic level, which David did not touch on, the current staff was providing services to (according to the Emptyprize) around 1/7th of of their clientele who lived in Davis… the other 6/7th for those outside the City in Yolo County.

    In my opinion, the reason Cities exist is to provide Fire protection (not necessarily at the cost we do), Police protection, roads, water, sanitary sewer, and drainage (the latter four, Public Works).

    Parks and greenbelts I’d put in a second tier.  Very important, but not essential.

    The Childcare thing… if the services can be provided by others than the city, with the funding that seems to be available, but not to the City, “no harm, no foul”.  If Wallace seems to be OK [Emptyprize article] seems OK, and if most of the 8 remaining staff have found employment with the successor agencies, as Clara would say, “where’s the beef”?

     

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