Children at Little Stars Preschool and Family Childcare in Los Angeles
Children at Little Stars Preschool and Family Childcare dance at a drum circle. Photo courtesy of Little Stars Preschool

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to accept $1 million in federal funds for child care providers.

Supervisors approved the money, obtained by Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-San Diego, as part of their consent agenda.

Child care providers who qualify may use funds to help pay for capital improvements and infrastructure, according to the county.

Board Chairman Nathan Fletcher said in a statement that working families “need greater access to affordable child care options, and we’re working with our federal partners to increase capacity within county government, and across the region.”

The money “will lead to more affordable child care availability for parents looking for more options,” Fletcher said, thanking Jacobs for her leadership on the issue.

According to Fletcher’s office, the vote came one day after at least 200 day-care centers in 27 states closed as part of the National Day Without Child Care, which involved child care workers going on strike. Organizers of Monday’s event called for better wages, racial justice in their profession and affordable child care.

Jacobs — who secured the $1 million through the Small Business Administration’s annual funding bill — said San Diego’s child care system was in crisis before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know it’s only gotten worse, putting undue burden on parents, kids, and our small-business care providers,” Jacobs added. “We have to think creatively and use every lever of government to alleviate this crisis. I was proud to be able to secure this much-needed funding on behalf of San Diego families to create this child care expansion fund.”

According to information on the board agenda, full-time care for an infant and toddler can cost an average of $16,000 to $20,000 per year.

Those high costs “force many working families to choose between child care and healthy and nutritious food, which is not conducive to long-term success and healthy outcomes,” the county stated.

City News Service contributed to this article.