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Tell state budget leaders to fund Food with Care. Free meals for all kids. Fair pay for providers.


California recently became the first state in the nation to expand free meals to all K-12 students. It's time to make a similar investment in our youngest learners.

The pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of and widened the gaps in our child care system, while simultaneously exacerbating food insecurity among households with young children. Child care providers have had to scramble to feed even hungrier kids, all while struggling with higher food costs, limited supplies, inconsistent enrollment, and inadequate support from the state.

We are requesting an ongoing investment of $70 million and a $15 million one-time investment to:

  • Enable all child care providers to qualify for reimbursements equivalent to the highest federal rate for meals served in the federal child care meal program;

  • Finally eliminate the child care meal pay penalty; and

  • Make strategic investments to support pandemic recovery through start-up and expansion grants (one-time funding).

This small investment will pay large dividends by putting hundreds of thousands of young children on a better path to a brighter future. At the same time, the state must ensure that we adequately support the financial stability of our essential child care workforce.