Press Release

Senate Passes Legislation to Increase Child Care Options for Military Families

SACRAMENTO – Legislation by Sen. Blakespear, D-Encinitas, to help ease the shortage of child care options for military personnel passed the Senate on Tuesday on a 38-0 bipartisan vote.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) provides many types of child care for military personnel, including child development centers on bases and family child care (FCC) provided in homes. SB 1401 would make it easier and quicker for those approved by the DOD to provide family child care to start operating in California by exempting the requirement for a state license.

“The shortage of child care options for military families is a big problem right now affecting so many families,” Sen. Blakespear said. “SB 1401 helps address the current shortage of child care by eliminating an unnecessary regulatory hurdle for family child care providers serving military personnel.”

Long wait times for child care are common for military families. In 2022, more than 4,000 children were on the wait list for Navy child care centers in San Diego alone.

The DOD estimates there is nearly a 50 percent deficit in the number of family child care providers needed. That forces many military families to turn to more expensive and less convenient civilian child care options.

By creating a state licensure exemption for FCC providers who are already certified by the DOD, SB 1401 would help providers 87% of whom were military spouses in 2021 — by reducing the administrative burden associated with completing time-consuming, expensive and sometimes redundant state child care licensure requirements.

A waiver means these spouses can start earning income much faster after a move, preventing financial instability with their families and helping to immediately reduce the shortage of child care in their new locations.

By creating new military child care spots, SB 1401 will also help alleviate waitlists for all Californians, as fewer military families will need to use civilian options.

Several states, including Connecticut, Alaska and Montana, have approved similar waivers.

SB 1401 is sponsored by the DOD. Camp Pendleton, which is one the largest U.S. Marine Corps bases in the nation, is in Sen. Blakespear’s district.

SB 1401 goes next to the Assembly for consideration.

Blakespear represents Senate District 38, which covers northern San Diego County and part of southern Orange County. To learn more about the district and Sen. Blakespear, visit her Senate website.