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Child care providers—and the moms and dads who depend on us to help educate and safely care for their children while they are working—were dealt a crushing blow by Governor Brown this week when he vetoed AB 101.

California’s child care system is broken and drowning in a sea of red tape- 5,700 providers decided to shut their doors last year alone. Governor Brown’s rejection of AB 101 shows a lack of understanding not only of how important child care and early education services are to kids, but also to California’s economic recovery. Our services are an essential support for working parents, the businesses that employ them, and the children who spend crucial development years in providers’ homes.

As a child care provider, I am dumbfounded that the governor denied providers like me the opportunity to join with my peers and work collaboratively with the State of California to improve the quality, access, affordability, and efficiency of child care services that hundreds of thousands of families rely on every day.

I was one of the many providers who worked tirelessly last November to elect politicians with a track record of supporting children and families. We went door to door, talked to the parents whose children we care for, and made phone calls during what little spare time we had. Why? Because we knew we had an opportunity to make a change in the Governor’s office; a change for the better.

With partners in Sacramento, we believed this was the year to build a foundation to repair our broken child care system that is buried under an unnecessary mountain of bureaucracy. AB 101 was a great opportunity to involve providers so we could help find waste and eliminate red tape in the system. No one knows more than we do about how best to improve standards and raise the quality of child care in California.

So imagine our deep disappointment when the Governor, for all his talk of fixing Sacramento, said no to providers, families, and children. This week the Governor walked away from a real opportunity to do something about the struggles that working families are facing. But walking away is a luxury the rest of us simply don’t have. Because we love the work we do, and because we deal with unnecessary difficulties every day, we will not give up.

We invite Governor Brown to continue hearing from the child care providers who are living on the edge because California hasn’t listened to our voices. We invite him to continue hearing from the parents who are trying desperately to stay on their feet and the businesses that count on these employees. We will continue to ask for a seat at the table and a chance to strengthen the profession we love. And we hope next year, unlike this week, the governor will respond in the way that all Californians need him to. The cost of not taking action to fix child care is just too great.

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