Santa Clara County Officeof Education (SCCOE) has just released its report of its study into the current state of early learning facilities in the county (here). The study found that there are nearly 32,000 children ages 0-5 years in Santa Clara County that are in need of, yet do not have access to, licensed, quality child care; a crisis in access that disproportionally affects families who reside in Santa Clara, San Jose, Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy. Early care and education providers cited lack of space, issues finding a site, lack of local or state funding, issues obtaining a license, and local zoning and land use restrictions as the primary barriers to the early learning facility expansion and renovation that is needed to address this access issue. The report, which was called for as part of the county-wide early learning master plan (here), also documented a reduction in the number of licensed child care centers (by 5%) and family child care homes (by 19%) since 2014, while the number of children aged 2-5 in the county has increased by 4% over the same period.
Also available at the facilities report site is an amazing, interactive, web-based mapping tool that shows the location of every licensed child care center and school enrolling kindergarten in the county, overlaid on zip code maps of unmet need for infant/toddler and preschool care. For those who really drill down, the tool also provides fine-grained data on numbers of children under the age of five in each census tract, preschool programs participating in QUALITY MATTERS – the county’s quality rating and improvement system – and even the address of the center. Users will be able to develop an understanding of the relationships between unmet need for child care, child population, city and school district geographic areas, and locations of ECE facilities. These data are intended to inform plans to meet the need for ECE among children ages 0-5 years in Santa Clara County.