Early and School-Age Care in Santa Monica: Current System, Policy Options, and Recommendations

By Ashley Pierson; Lynn A. Karoly et al. | Go to book overview

Summary
The landscape of early learning and out-of-school-time programs in the City of Santa Monica is complex, with numerous providers and funding streams. This complexity reflects its evolution in response to changes in federal, state, and local priorities and initiatives. Future shifts in funding levels, program auspices, and other features are likely. With our growing understanding of the importance of high-quality early learning experiences and the value of the extended day for outof-school-time learning, it is imperative to ensure that child care—and the public funds that support it—meet the needs of families in the city and provide opportunities for optimal growth and development for the children who use these services.This is a particularly opportune time for the city to examine early and school-age care. Building upon a partnership initiated in 2010 to address youth violence and mental health, the City of Santa Monica, Santa Monica–Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD), Santa Monica College, and other community partners have formed the Santa Monica Cradle to Career (SMC2C) Working Group. SMC2C’s efforts, based in a collective impact framework, recognize that youth well-being must be examined from many angles and that the city and other stakeholders have an opportunity and a challenge to provide its children and youth with opportunities for healthy growth and development starting at birth and continuing through the school-age years. The SMC2C initiative recognizes that while individual agencies and institutions do their best to meet the needs of families in the community, systems can become complex, fragmented, and challenging for families to navigate. Thus, SMC2C aims to address the fragmentation through unified goals, shared information, and a common commitment to serving the diverse needs of children and youth.In light of the SMC2C initiative, the goal of this report was to provide the City of Santa Monica and SMMUSD with the data and analysis required to deliver effective and sustainable care programs through effective use of available sources of public funding and existing provider infrastructure in the public and private sectors. Specifically, we seek to answer the following questions:
How will state (and federal) budget and policy changes affect the system of infant and toddler care, preschool and prekindergarten programs, and school-age programs in the City of Santa Monica in terms of access, quality, effectiveness, and sustainability?
How can new funding sources be integrated with existing funding streams, including subsidy and fee structures, to simplify and sustain the mix of programs and services required to meet the needs of families in the city?

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