Statement from First 5 Alameda County CEO Kristin Spanos on the Announcement of the Biden Administration’s American Families Plan



Today, the Biden administration is validating California’s long-standing commitment to direct public investments toward supporting children in the first five years of their lives. Key among the American Families Plan’s (AFP) provisions are investments in economic support for families and increased funding for early care and education (ECE). The effects of structural barriers to wealth, assets and resources have left far too many children, families, and caregivers living in or on the edge of poverty, with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color disproportionately impacted. These proposed investments are a promising first step toward remedying policies that have perpetuated systemic discrimination and racial and economic injustice.

The AFP will help ensure that all employees participating in pre-kindergarten and Head Start programs will earn at least $15 per hour and those with qualifications equal to kindergarten teachers will be paid comparably. This new policy aligns with Measure C: Children’s Health and Child Care Initiative for Alameda County, which was passed by voters in March 2020. In Alameda County, 79% of ECE professionals identify as women of color and 87% of ECE professionals are considered very low income. An increase in wages for this workforce is important not only to recognize the value of their work and their contributions to the health, development, and education of our youngest residents, but also to help close disparities in income tied to race and gender.

As the named administrator of Measure C, our agency appreciates the President’s lifting up of the caregiving field, both with wages and with regards to proposed investments in funding for ECE workforce development in support of on-the-job training and opportunities to increase provider salaries.

The AFP’s provision to extend the Child Tax Credit through 2025, make the credit permanently refundable, and expand child nutrition benefits has potential to be transformational in reducing child poverty and buffering the effects of material and economic hardships that have become exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

First 5 calls on Congress to approve the President’s plan. When we invest in each other, when we connect to each other, when we support each other—that is the best kind of human infrastructure we can build.