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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Examining Child Deprivation Across California and How It Could Be Addressed with Early Childhood Education


Socioeconomic deprivation can create adverse conditions with direct impacts on the development of children. The Early Childhood Deprivation Index (ECDI) shows that there are significant differences in the extent of deprivation of young children (aged 0 to 5 years) among the counties in California. Our research shows that the cost of childcare forms a significant proportion of family income among low- and middle-income families. It indicates that families can pay for a high proportion of such costs if they could access the available federal and state government entitlements. A universal high-quality early childhood education system brings about an efficient way of providing the childcare without the unnecessary cost of employing a means-tested entitlement mechanism.  However, even with universal early childhood education, families need support to be able to take advantage of the program, since pre-schooling will be on a voluntary basis. It is therefore important that in addition to providing education universally- communities, and the state make every effort to increase the ability of California families to benefit from this important opportunity.

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