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Solano County, California: The Economic Impact of the Child Care Industry in Solano County

Project status

Completed 2003

Lead Agency

First 5--Solano County Children and and Families Commission

Contact Person

Christina Linville
Executive Director
2300 Boynton Ave.
Suite 204
Fairfield, CA 94533
(707) 435-2965

Research Firm

National Economic Development Law Center


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


  • Long Report (15+ Pages)
  • Newspaper Article / Media Coverage
  • Involved Business / Economic Development
  • Worked with a Professional PR Consultant

Case Study

Case Study: Solano County, CA
"The Economic Impact of Child Care in Solano County"
Date of Study Completion: 2003



The Solano County economic impact report was prepared by the National Economic Development and Law Center (NEDLC) in conjunction with the First-5 Commission and the County Child Care Planning Council. The advisory committee for this report included representatives of area cities, the County’s Planning Division, social services agencies and the local Community College. Local economic development and small business centers also advised the project. Representatives of the child care community included advocates as well as non-profit and proprietary programs.


NEDLC conducted a number of economic impact of child care studies in the region in the mid 1990’s and Solano wanted to do a similar study. Solano County receives approximately $5 million a year as a part of California ’s proposition 10. Prop 10 passed in 1999 and levied a tax on tobacco sales, the proceeds of which are divided among California ’s counties for community driven strategic planning with a focus on children. Solano County ’s Child Care Planning Council wanted to attract the attention of the planning and financial communities and encourage them to help align local child care efforts including the promotion of training and capital construction.

The Study:

Sector Definition

The study measured all licensed full or part day child development facilities. These included licensed family child care homes, centers, non-governmental preschools, state subsidized preschools, military child care facilities and Head Start.

Data Analysis

Measurement* Solano Co.
Number of Establishments 783
Child Care Labor Force 2,051
Children Served 11,579
Gross Receipts $87.2 million
Number of Parents with Children in Paid Care X
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, 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, UPK), but 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 Solano County. The study reported the size of the child care industry as measured by employment numbers, the size of subsidy capture and the linkage effects of the child care industry. Gross receipts were measured and reported based upon the type of center.

Unique Findings

The Solano report included quite a bit of information on local demographic and economic changes that have occurred over the past ten years. Some of these changes have significant impact on early care and education, and include:

  • Childbirth was the primary driver of population growth in recent years. Children age14 and under now comprise almost 1/4th of the total population. Currently, the percentage of children under ages 5, and of adults over 65, are equal--each comprises 9% of total population.
  • Although minorities comprise 44% of the overall population they comprise 53% of the population of children ages 0-4. And these percentages are growing rapidly. 
  • The increasing diversity in Solano's child population requires a varied array of culturally appropriate child care programming, including multi-lingual staff (in particular Spanish and Tagalog).
  • Almost 43 percent of Solano County's workforce works outside the county.
  • Of all area jobs, 28 percent pay less than the self-sufficiency wage for a family of four. And only 3 of the top 10 jobs with the fastest growth paid a self-sufficiency wage of $17.86 per hour.


Organizational Change and Outreach

The process of creating the report led to strong connections being formed between members of the advisory board, many of whom had not previously worked together. The paradigm of child care as a strong sector of the County’s economic development engine created a new nexus among practitioners and planners.

The report had not been officially released at the time of this interview. The report has been ready for release for a number of months but will be rolled out in conjunction with a new facilities development program, a grant for which the Child Care Economic Development Report is thought to be a key factor. A technical advisor will be hired for this event. After the roll-out event the report’s findings will be presented to a number of local civic groups. The Report has been used as a reference for local facilities development efforts such as First 5, Solano’s capital grant to the Affordable Housing Affiliation for the construction of a child development center in the Sereno Village affordable housing complex in Vallejo.


The report’s recommendations were framed as what businesses and financial institutions can do to support child care. It suggested that business could both work with the public sector to advance the child care agenda, as well as address the child care needs of employees at individual firms. Financial institutions can assist in putting together loan programs appropriate to the child care sector. Also included were recommendations as to how the child care community can be more effective in working with both public and private sector groups to increase access to quality child care.

The report highlights the role local economic development entities can play in assisting child care providers in developing business skills. The goal is to include business training in the CARES curriculum. CARES is a California program that assists child care professionals in continuing their education.

Interview with:
Christina Linville, Executive Director
First 5 – Solano Co. Children and Families Commission
Belinda Smith, Consultant
July 8, 2004


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