City Councilman David Ryu and Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager, D-Los Angeles, Monday joined the nonprofit Pathways LA to call on Gov. Gavin Newsom to fully fund child care programming in the state budget.

They also urged essential workers to take advantage of free child care during the coronavirus pandemic and for affordable and accessible child care to be a priority at every level of government.

“Lack of free and affordable access to child care is an economic justice issue,” Kamlager said. “We must remember single parents who work two jobs to make ends meet for their family. We must think about students who need child care so that they can finish school and have access to better paying jobs. We must prioritize our essential workers who are parents and who are keeping us afloat in this pandemic.”

Pathways LA is connecting essential workers in Los Angeles with free child care during the pandemic, via a $100 million fund that Newsom announced in April.

“For too many, disenfranchisement begins at birth,” said Jessie Salazar, executive director of Pathways LA. “It’s critical that we offer families from disadvantaged communities the high-quality child care they need and that young children receive the corresponding lifelong benefits.”

According to Ryu’s office, nearly 40% of child care centers in Los Angeles have shut down since the start of the pandemic, and those closures could become permanent without continued funding.

“An economy that does not include affordable and accessible child care is an unjust economy,” he said. “This pandemic has only made matters worse, shutting down child care centers and pushing working families even further behind.”

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