The Phase II final report of the California Cares Project undertaken by PACE for the California Department of Education (CDE), California Department of Social Services (CDSS ), and the Office of Child Development and Education, culminates the research and conceptual activities carried out in Phase II of the California Cares Project. In 1992, the California legislature moved to bring more unity to childcare and development services in the state. It enacted AB 2184, which called for an investigation into the feasibility of consolidating all childcare and development programs in hopes of streamlining the system. A comprehensive review of the programs was assigned to a joint task force under the direction of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Secretary of Health and Welfare, and the Secretary of Child Development and Education.
At the outset, the task force identified the two functions of the present system as the dual goals of an improved system: preparing children for success in school and helping families achieve economic self-sufficiency. Operationally, it defined a new system as "seamless," one that "promotes continuity of services between programs as families' incomes and employment status, aid status, and other relevant characteristics change."
In 1993, PACE was chosen to conduct the comprehensive systems review and analysis under a joint agreement with the three agencies. PACE was asked to identify the issues and options involved in developing a seamless system based on the task force's definition and principles, with particular emphasis on the relationship among access, quality, and funding.
The California Cares Study has been divided into three phases. In Phase I, PACE looked at the historical background of child care and development programs in California; examined changing demographic conditions and the demand for services; described current programs and services; analyzed the task force's matrix of program characteristics; studied practices in other states; and reviewed childcare and development literature with a focus on quality, access, cost, and governance.
Phase II activities centered on a close examination of California's existing childcare and development system for the purpose of identifying obstacles that impede the delivery of a seamless system of care. As in Phase I, PACE took into consideration four key elements related to services: governance and administration, quality, client access to services, and the cost of services. An additional objective was to develop a conceptual model that would assist in future planning and allocation of resources in the system. Phase II culminated in the California Cares Conference, held in April 1995, attended by 200 invited representatives from childcare and development professional organizations, as well as federal, state, and local agency representatives, and parents. This conference provided the opportunity for PACE to present a series of proposals and gather the reactions of stake holders. Phase III will refine Phase II recommendations and work with the three state agencies on implementation.
This report is divided into two parts. Part I, consisting of chapters one through three, focuses on analysis of seams in the current system, and presents PACE's findings. Part II, consisting of chapters four through seven, describes a conceptual model for California's child care and development system, and lays out a decision procedure for making critical choices regarding program and funding allocation and governance.