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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                               
April 3, 2008
For More Information, Contact:
Sarah Mason at (916) 651-4011


SACRAMENTO – State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), author of the bill that established the San Mateo County Child Care Subsidy Pilot Project, announced today that SB 1304, his bill to extend that program for another 5 years, has passed out of the Senate Education Committee on a 6-0 vote.  The bill will next go to the Senate Floor for approval.

The San Mateo County Child Care Subsidy Pilot Project was first introduced in 2003 as AB 1326 by then Assemblymember Simitian, and signed into law that same year.  It authorized the County of San Mateo to develop and implement an individualized county child care subsidy plan to ensure that child care subsidies received by the county are used to address local needs, conditions, and priorities. 

A first of its kind, this program has given the county more flexibility in providing subsidized child care.  “The problem with state-subsidized child care is that one size doesn’t fit all, especially when it comes to high cost areas like ours,” said Simitian.

Under the current state rules, families “income-out” of child care subsidy at 75% of State Median Income.  Prior to AB 1326, San Mateo County families were losing child care assistance when they were still earning barely enough to pay their housing costs, much less cover child care costs.  That’s because 75% of State Median Income is approximately 43% of County Median Income.  The state rule kept parents from applying for better paying jobs, accepting promotions and pay raises, improving the standard of living for their families, and achieving self-sufficiency.

“Too many of our families couldn’t qualify,” says Simitian, “we were sending money we needed but couldn’t use back to the State, and we were losing more and more child care slots with every passing day.  The San Mateo County Child Care Subsidy Pilot Project was the necessary response.”

AB 1326 authorized the Local Planning Council of San Mateo County to create a San Mateo County child care subsidy plan that would permit waivers of state-specific rules regarding income eligibility, reimbursement rates, and parent fees for a 5-year pilot project.  San Mateo County was the first and only County in the State allowed to develop its own program and criteria.

“For the last three years the subsidy pilot has helped support families and the fragile child care infrastructure they depend on at no additional cost to the family” said George Archambeau, Interim Executive Director of the Child Care Coordinating Council of San Mateo County.  “Under the pilot we were able to pay for an additional 8.5% more hours of child care per family and served 200 more children annually.”

A provision of the existing law requires the county to phase out the plan between January 1, 2009, and January 1, 2011.  Senator Simitian introduced SB 1304 to extend those provisions for 5 years, therefore authorizing the San Mateo County to develop and implement the plan until January 1, 2014, and to phase out the plan between January 1, 2014, and January 1, 2016.

“The passage of this important legislation extending the San Mateo County Child Care Subsidy Pilot will ensure that we will continue to have the means necessary to better meet the needs of our community,” said San Mateo County Supervisor Mark Church.  “Because of Senator Simitian’s leadership, vital child care spaces will not be lost and families in need of child care will not be turned away.”

SB 1304 does not require additional funding from the State.  Instead, the County will continue to receive the same level of funding, but will have the flexibility to use those funds more effectively.

To learn more about SB 1304, please visit