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Sonoma County, California

Project status

Completed November, 2002

Lead Agency

Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County

Contact Person

Marinell Eva
Executive Director
(707) 522-1413 x 119

Research Firm



  • Number of Establishments
  • Child Care Labor Force
  • Children Served
  • Gross Receipts
  • Multiplier Effects on Local Economy
  • Governmental Transfers / Subsidies


  • Long Report (15+ Pages)
  • Newspaper Article / Media Coverage
  • Conducted a Series of Presentations
  • Involved Business / Economic Development

Case Study

Case Study: Sonoma County, CA
"The Economic Impact of Child Care in Sonoma County"
Date of Study Completion: November, 2002



The Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County, in collaboration with the Sonoma County Child Care Planning Council, worked with the National Economic Development Law Center (NEDLC) to produce a local economic impact study. The research was guided by an advisory committee comprised of local and statewide elected officials; local offices of health services, human services, and education; members of the local First Five California group; and child care advocates.


The Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County is a non-profit agency that provides child care resource and referral services, administers a parent choice child care subsidy program and a child health nutrition program, and operates eleven subsidized child care centers in the county. The agency also promotes and supports quality child care services through education and advocacy. The Council's vision is "to inspire our community to support the well-being of every child, and to improve the quality and availability of child care in Sonoma County." The economic impact study was part of this effort.

The Council wanted to engage the business community in the process of increasing supply and affordability of child care as well as encouraging more family friendly policies for employees of local businesses. They felt the business community did not understand the impact of child care in the community at large. The report was conducted as part of a community effort to get that message out. Additionally, the Council was interested in addressing worker needs within the child care industry.

The Study:

Sector Definition

The study measured all licensed family providers, child care centers, Head Start, State preschool, and non-governmental preschools.

Data Analysis

Measurement* Sonoma Co.
Number of Establishments 842
Child Care Labor Force 2,412
Children Served 17,100
Gross Receipts $91.1 million
Number of Parents with Children in Paid Care  
Multiplier Effects on Local Economy X
Governmental Transfers / Subsidies X
Tax Receipts / Fiscal Impact  

*Not all studies included the same components making it difficult to compare the numbers provided in this chart with those of other studies. In its definition of the number of establishments, this study included licensed and regulated center and family care and pre-k in public schools and did not include regulation-exempt center care or regulation-exempt home-based care (informal care). In its definition of gross receipts, this study included provider charges (parent fees and vouchers in lieu of parent fees) and government funded programs (Head Start, preK) did not include provider subsidies (quality dollars, Child and Adult Care Food Program).

The report relates county demographic and economic trends to the child care industry in Sonoma County. The study reported the size of the child care industry as measured by gross receipts, employment numbers, the size of subsidy capture and the linkage effects of the child care industry.

Unique Findings

The study measured the direct and multiplier effects of facility construction. It was estimated that a $1 million investment in child care facility construction would yield at least 16 full time equivalent jobs in the county.


Organizational Change and Outreach

Pride within the child care community regarding their economic impact has helped to strengthen local efforts. For example, awareness of the industry's economic importance has increased the community’s desire to see wage increases. The local CCR&R has increased the amount of data they collect, especially in relation to the economic aspects of the industry.

The Council took the study, and an accompanying presentation, to a number of civic clubs and Chambers of Commerce. But these presentations yielded little in the way of new interest in child care issues. To assess why there was so little interest the Council conducted a survey of businesses. These surveys asked firms how they believed child care and absenteeism affected their business and if they would be interested in participating in a more in-depth survey. The survey’s respondents and the Council now have created a group to discuss the importance of child care in the community.


The Sonoma County economic impact report included recommendations aimed at increasing investment in child care supply and increasing the amount of subsidies drawn down from state and federal sources. Since the report was released in fall 2002, the county planning office has proposed including child care data in the new general plan.

Interview with:
Marinell Eva, Executive Director
Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County
July 8, 2004


Download report