Young children (under age 6)3: 2,936,428
* This graph includes all possible risk factors: poor, single parent, teen mother, low parental education, nonemployed parents, residential mobility, households without English speakers, and large family size.
The Early Childhood Two-Generation State Policy Profile shows which state policies meet benchmarks that are favorable to the well-being of children and their families. The profile includes policies that are key elements of a two-generation approach to supporting the well-being and life opportunities of young children and their parents, in the areas of health, early care and education, and parenting and economic support.
A two-generation framework for policy design reflects extensive research that identifies the critical supports young children need over time to thrive1,2. Most two-generation supports for young children and families are created through the collective impact of multiple policies. An example is investment in prekindergarten programs and an effective quality improvement system that promotes children’s access to high quality early care and education programs along with state policies such as the Earned Income Tax credit and minimum wage that raise the incomes of low-income working families; another is policies that ensure mental health screenings and access to quality health care for both children and parents.
A brief overview of policies in the EC Two-Generation State Policy Profile is provided below (see policy definitions for an explanation of benchmarks). The Profile is limited to policies for which 50-state data are available. Users who wish to examine additional policies specific to their state, within a two-generation framework, can find suggestions in State Policies through a Two-Generation Lens: Strengthening the Collective Impact of Policies that Affect the Life Course of Young Children and their Parents.
States can support young children's development by making key policy choices in early health and development. This section of ITO highlights states' policy choices for supporting young children's wellbeing: 1) Access to and continuity of health care, including state Medicaid/CHIP eligibility levels and coverage of legal immigrant children; 2) Parents' access to health care, including for low-income pregnant women, and access to a medical home for young children; and 3) Preventive screening and assessment, including adherence to recommended schedules for well-child visits.
Early Care and Education
States make important decisions about the early care and education services they provide to young children and families. This section of ITO higlights states' key policy choices that affect children's development and parents' ability to work: 1) Access to childcare, including subsidy eligibility levels and reimbursement rates; and 2) States' investment in Head Start, Early Head Start, pre-kindergarten, child care centers' class size and student-teacher ratios and investment in infant/toddler specialist networks and credentials and Quality Rating Improvement Systems.
Parenting and Economic Supports
States make critical policy choices that help low-income parents effectively support young children's healthy development. This section of ITO spotlights states' policy choices related to important economic supports for low-income families with young children: 1) TANF requirements for parents of young children; and 2) Income support policies including tax relief, earned income and dependent care tax credits, as well as child support disregards.
State Choices to Promote Access
Income eligibility limit for public health insurance (Medicaid/CHIP) at or above 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL) 4
- Children <1 year
Sets eligibility at 266% (M-CHIP) and 208% (Medicaid)
- Children 1-5 years
Sets eligibility at 266% (M-CHIP)
- Children 6-18 years
Sets eligibility at 266% (M-CHIP)
- Pregnant women
Sets eligibility at 322% (Unborn Child Option: CHIP-funded) and 213% (Medicaid)
- Provides lawfully residing immigrant children with Medicaid/CHIP coverage without 5-year waiting period 4
- Provides lawfully residing pregnant immigrant women with Medicaid/CHIP coverage without 5-year waiting period 4
- Provides temporary coverage to pregnant women under Medicaid until eligibility can be formally determined 4
- Provides temporary coverage to children under Medicaid or CHIP until eligibility can be formally determined 4
- Includes at-risk children in the definition of eligibility for IDEA Part C 5
- Does not require redetermination of eligibility for Medicaid/CHIP more than once a year 4
- Has adopted Medicaid expansion as part of the Affordable Care Act 6
- Has an online dual-benefit form to apply for Medicaid and SNAP 4
- Medicaid pays for maternal depression screening during pediatric/family medicine visits under the child's Medicaid 7
Not updated in 2018; update pending survey submission.
State Choices to Promote Quality
EPSDT screening periodicity schedule meets recommendations of American Academy of Pediatrics [FY 2016]8
- 7 screenings for children <1 year
State requires 7 screens. 53% of eligible screens were completed in 2016.
- 4 screenings for children 1-2 years
State requires 5 screens. 69% of eligible screens were completed in 2016.
- 3 screenings for children 3-5 years
State requires 3 screens. 67% of eligible screens were completed in 2016.
- 4 screenings for children 6-9 years
State requires 4 screens. 44% of eligible screens were completed in 2016.
Early Care and Education
State Choices to Promote Access
- Sets the income eligibility limit for child care subsidies at or above 200% FPL 9
A family of three qualifies for assistance at $42,216 or 207% FPL. This reflects a decrease from 209% FPL in 2016.
- Reimburses center-based care at the highest quality QRIS tier above the 75th percentile of current market rates 9
California does not have tiered reimbursement rates.
- Provides families with at least 12 months of continuous eligibility for child care subsidies [FY 2016]10
If employment hours are unpredictable, redetermination must take place at least every four months. If a child is receiving care due to risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, eligibility is limited to six months, at which point the family must be redetermined eligible under a different need criteria.
- Funds a pre-kindergarten program and/or supplements Head Start [FY 2016]11
$731,698,736 for pre-kindergarten
- Requires districts to offer full day kindergarten 12
State Choices to Promote Quality
- Requires one adult for every four 18-month-olds, and a maximum class size of eight in child care centers 13
Child care regulations require one adult for every 6 children, and the maximum class size is 12.
- Has early learning standards or developmental guidelines for infants and toddlers 14
- Has an infant/toddler credential or certificate 15
- Requires that infants and toddlers in child care centers be assigned a consistent primary caregiver 16
- Requires one adult for every ten 4-year-olds, and a maximum class size of 20 in child care centers 13
Child care regulations require one adult for every 12 children, and there is no maximum class size.
- Has implemented a statewide Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) 17
Regional QRIS launched.
- Requires one teacher for every 12 students in kindergarten classrooms 18
To avoid penalties, districts must maintain class sizes of 33 or less in kindergarten. Grant funding is available to reduce kindergarten to one teacher for every 20 students or lower.
- Has comprehensive, free-standing standards for social emotional learning at the K-12 level 19
Parenting and Economic Supports
State Choices to Promote Effective Parenting
- Extends Medicaid coverage for family planning to otherwise ineligible low-income women 20
Eligibility based on income up to 200% FPL, includes men and individuals younger than 19 years of age.
- Exempts single parents on TANF from work requirements until the youngest child reaches age 1 [FY 2016]21
Recipients who care for a child less than 24 months of age are exempt. This is a once in a lifetime exemption, though subsequent young child exemptions are available for children under 6 months old.
- Reduces the TANF work requirement to 20 hours or less for single parents with children under age 6 [FY 2016]21
- Has paid family leave for a minimum of 6 weeks with partial replacement of wages 22
- Offers accrual of at least five paid sick days 23
Employees can use up to 24 hours per year of paid sick leave.
State Choices to Promote Family Economic Security
- Established a state minimum wage that meets or exceeds $9.82/hr and is indexed to inflation for a family of three 24
- Exempts single-parent families of three below the federal poverty level from personal income tax 25
- Offers a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit 26
85% of federal Earned Income Tax Credit, up to 50% of the federal phase-in range
- Offers a refundable state dependent care tax credit [FY 2016]27
Under California Tax Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses, the maximum nonrefundable credit is $1,050.
- Keeps copayments for child care subsidies at or below 7% of family income for families of three at 150% FPL 9
Copayments set at 5% of income.
- Offers exemptions and/or extensions of the TANF benefit time limit for women who are pregnant or caring for a child under age 6 [FY 2016]21
Time limit exemptions are offered to parents caring for a child under 24 months of age.
- Offers a minimum of 28 weeks of Unemployment Insurance benefits 28
State provides up to 26 weeks of regular state-funded UI.
- Offers a refundable Child Tax Credit 29
California offers non-refundable Child Tax Credit named Dependent Exemption Credit or Dependent Tax Credit. Reductions vary by income and marital status.
- Sets gross income eligibility limit at 200% FPL and does not have asset limits for SNAP 30
Data Notes and Sources
Last Updated: March 29, 2018
Send us recent developments to update your state's profile.
- Chase-Lansdale, P. L., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2014). Two-generation programs in the twenty-first century. The Future of Children, 24(1), 13-39.
- Shonkoff, J. P., & Fisher, P. A. (2013). Rethinking evidence-based practice and two-generation programs to create the future of early childhood policy. Development and psychopathology, 25(4pt2), 1635-1653.
- National data were calculated from the 2016 American Community Survey, representing information from 2016. State data were calculated from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey, representing information from the years 2012-2016.
- Brooks, T., Miskell, S., Artiga, S., Cornachione, E., & Gates, A. (2017). Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility, Enrollment, Renewal, and Cost-Sharing Policies as of January 2017: Findings from a 50-State Survey. Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. http://files.kff.org (accessed February 3, 2017).
- Ringwalt, S. (Comp.). (2015). Summary table of states' and territories' definitions of/criteria for IDEA Part C eligibility. http://www.nectac.org (accessed August 25, 2015).
- Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. (2017). Status of State Action on the Medicaid Expansion Decision. http://kff.org (accessed February 2, 2017).
- Update of the National Center for Children in Poverty Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Medicaid Survey reported in March 2017. http://nccp.org Data were based on 41 state survey updates as of March 15, 2018. Pending states: AR, AZ, CA, DC, GA, NM, NV, NY, OH, and TN.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2017). The Annual EPSDT Report (Form CMS-416) for FY 2016. https://www.medicaid.gov (accessed December 11, 2017). Data were not reported for ND.
- Schulman, K., & Blank, H. (2017). Persistent Gaps: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2017. National Women's Law Center. https://nwlc.org (accessed November 2, 2017). Parents at 150% FPL ineligible for monthly child care copayments in Maryland.
- Minton, S., Blatt, L., Tran, V., Stevens, K., & Giannarelli, L. (2017). The CCDF Policies Database Book of Tables: Key Cross-State Variations in CCDF Policies as of October 1, 2016. OPRE Report 2017-105. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Https://www.acf.hhs.gov (accessed February 22, 2018).
- Barnett, W. S., Friedman-Krauss, A. H., Weisenfeld, G. G., Horowitz, M., Kasmin, R., & Squires, J. H. (2017). The State of Preschool 2016: State Preschool Yearbook. New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. http://nieer.org (accessed December 19, 2017).
- Parker, E., Diffey, L., & Atchison, B. (2016). Full-day kindergarten: A look across the states. Denver, CO: Education Commission of the States. http://www.ecs.org (accessed June 23, 2017).
- National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. (2013). We Can Do Better: Child Care Aware of America's Ranking of State Child Care Center Regulations and Oversight. http://usa.childcareaware.org (accessed August 14, 2013).
- Administration for Children & Families, National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance. (2017). State Early Learning and Developmental Guidelines. https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov (accessed December 19, 2017).
- Administration for Children & Families, National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning. (2018). State/Territory Infant/Toddler Credential Overview, February 2018. Obtained data from staff at ZERO TO THREE.
- National Center on Child Care Quality Improvement & National Association for Regulatory Administration. (2015). Trends in child care center licensing regulations and policies for 2014. (Research Brief #1 ) (No. 314). Fairfax, VA: National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance. Https://childcareta.acf.hhs.gov (accessed June 23, 2017).
- QRIS National Learning Network. (2017). Current Status of QRIS in the States map. http://qrisnetwork.org (accessed February 7, 2017).
- Education Commission of the States. (2016). Early Learning: Kindergarten Online Database. http://ecs.force.com (accessed February 7, 2017).
- The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). (2017). K-12 Learning Goals for SEL in all 50 States. https://casel.org (accessed June 23, 2017).
- Guttmacher Institute. (2018). Medicaid Family Planning Eligibility Expansions. New York, NY: Guttmacher Institute. Https://www.guttmacher.org (accessed January 3, 2018).
- Giannarelli, L., Heffernan, C., Minton, S., Thompson, M., & Stevens, K. (2017). Welfare Rules Databook: State TANF Policies as of July 2016. OPRE Report 2017-82. Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.acf.hhs.gov (accessed December 19, 2017).
- National Conference of State Legislatures. (2016). State Family Medical Leave and Parental Leave Laws. Washington, DC: National Conference of State Legislatures. Http://www.ncsl.org (accessed November 28, 2016).
- National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), 50-State Policy Tracker. (2016). 50-State Data, Family and Medical Leave. http://nccp.org (accessed July 18, 2017). *Original data were collected by the National Partnership for Women & Families.
- National Conference of State Legislatures. (2017). State Minimum Wages: 2017 Minimum Wage by State. Washington, DC: National Conference of State Legislatures. http://www.ncsl.org (accessed June 23, 2017).
- National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), 50-State Policy Tracker. (2014) 50-State Data, Income Tax Liability. http://nccp.org (accessed June 23, 2017).
- Williams, E. (2017). States Can Adopt or Expand Earned Income Tax Credits to Build a Stronger Future Economy: State Earned Income Tax Credits, 2016. Washington, DC: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. https://www.cbpp.org (accessed June 23, 2017).
- National Women's Law Center. (2017). State Child Care and Dependent Care, Tax Provisions, Tax Year 2016. Washington, DC: National Women's Law Center. https://nwlc.org (accessed December 19, 2017).
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (2017). Policy Basics: How Many Weeks of Unemployment Compensation Are Available? https://www.cbpp.org (accessed June 23, 2017).
- Tax Credits for Workers and Their Families. (2017). State Tax Credits Maps. http://www.taxcreditsforworkersandfamilies.org (accessed July 18, 2017).
- National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), 50-State Policy Tracker. (2016). 50-State Data, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). http://nccp.org (accessed July 18, 2017).
- U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2015 Math and Reading Assessment. http://nces.ed.gov (accessed November 10, 2015).