We’re pleased to announce the third installation of the Raising California Together Coalition Partner Spotlight blog series, aimed at shining a light on our array of awesome coalition partners, and showcasing the incredible work they do for parents and kids!
This month we sat down with Kim Kruckel, of the Child Care Law Center, to learn more about the important work they do.
How did the Child Care Law Center get started?
West Coast feminists in the 70s realized that women needed child care if they were going to get ahead in the work world. They also realized that the child care profession was an important income source for women. They organized, advocated, and created family support systems, such as child care “switchboards” and playgroups where parents got information about child care. The activists established relationships with child care providers and government agencies and eventually a resource and referral services got set up in each county. The infrastructure around child development and supporting families grew.
The Child Care Law Center came into being when these activists realized they needed legal help – around 1980. A child care provider had been denied a child care license because she wasn’t married, and because she spoke Spanish. The child care leaders reached out to public interest lawyers like Mark Aronson at UC Hastings and Marcia Rosen – and they formed a “project” to challenge that government restriction, and that is how the Child Care Law Center was born.
What do you find most frustrating in the battle for child care reform?
Without a doubt, the most frustrating thing in the battle for child care reform is that individuals – and thus policymakers – think families should solve their child care problems on their own. Raising children is considered a personal issue.
In fact, all families need support.
When people accept that programs where children are cared for, play, laugh and grow are integral to our communities and need funding and respect – just like schools, parks, libraries and health clinics – then children and families and will be supported.
What is the most innovative thing you’ve done as an organization?
The legal hooks our lawyers use every day are pretty innovative – we are always thinking of creative legal tactics.
Our lawyers have used legal tools to save child care for individual parents and for huge groups of parents. You would not believe the number of laws, regulations, requirements and red-tape standing between a family in need and affordable child care.
What would a perfect child care system look like?
- A year of paid parental leave for each parent, either together or consecutive.
- Two years (or more!) in a family child care home of your choice and then a year or two in a preschool program.
- Acceptance and understanding of children with different needs and children from a variety of cultures.
- Accepting and understanding that children learn through play – they do not need to be taught letters and numbers.
- Paid parental leave and child care paid for through federal and state government, not employers. Because if it is available to everyone, we will be closer to achieving equity.
When you were a kid, who was an adult in your life that you looked up to? Why?
My grandfather was a bundle of energy and ideas. He was one of those people who was willing to try out a lot of ideas and didn’t mind if they failed. He always encouraged me to take a risk – drive his car (I was little!) or ride a horse or climb a tree. He taught me to be an aggressive tennis player, too.