Apr 25, 2014
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The landscape of early learning and out-of-school-time programs in the City of Santa Monica is complex, with numerous providers and funding streams. This complexity reflects its evolution in response to changes in federal, state, and local priorities and initiatives. Future shifts in funding levels, program auspices, and other features are likely. In July 2012, the City of Santa Monica Human Services Division and the Santa Monica–Malibu Unified School District contracted with the RAND Corporation to conduct an assessment of child care programs in Santa Monica. The study was motivated in part by the perception of some stakeholders that the system of care had become fragmented and complex. Additional motivations were the uncertainty of resource streams stemming from recent and anticipated state and federal budget cuts and a desire to ensure youth well-being in the community. The project sought to assess how well Santa Monica's child care programs meet the needs of families, including child care and early education programs serving children from birth to kindergarten entry, as well as care for school-aged children (focusing on kindergarten through eighth grade) in the hours before and after school and in the summer. Overall, recommendations for improvement focused on advancing access, quality, service delivery, and financial sustainability.