Early Care & Education

In 2014, the United Way and its partners conducted a County-wide needs assessment to determine the key issues that prevent residents from achieving prosperity. One of these barriers was access to quality and affordable child care. In Monterey County, there are 10,352 licensed child care slots for the 32,410 children 0-5 of working families. Recent national and local research has shown that Family, Friends, and Neighbors (FFN) child care providers, particularly in low-income communities, care for nearly 70 percent of children with working parents. The Kindergarten Readiness Assessment determined that only 25% of children County wide are kindergarten-ready. We know that 89% of children who ranked at the bottom 5% of the kindergarten readiness assessment are Hispanic/Latino. 70% of these children live below the Federal Poverty Level. 

In a recent survey of Monterey County child care providers, 100% of respondents indicated that they were operating at full capacity and had waiting lists. Reasons cited included lack available of classrooms and lack of available workforce.  

Our Early Care and Education Vision

Our goal is to double the percentage of children that are fully prepared for kindergarten from just 25% today to 50% by 2025.


40 children attended Summer Bridge to improve kindergarten readiness

40 additional child care slots through the Early Care and Education Grant

22 FFN providers received training


Our Early Care and Education Strategies

Monterey County Preschool Service Corps

In partnership with local preschools, Monterey County Preschool Service Corps is offering tutoring activities to preschool children. The program's mission is to support kindergarten readiness, by offering individualized opportunities for preschool children to develop language and literacy skills during their regular preschool day. 

Friends, Family, and Neighbors Child Care Providers (FFN)

FFNs are informal child care providers who have not had the opportunity or need to become licensed. They provide valuable services but do not have access to funding and technical assistance provided by the formal child care system. In Monterey County, there are over 10,000 licensed child care openings for more than 38,000 children birth through five-years-old. Because of this gap, it is estimated that most child care is provided by FFN caregivers. UWMC is partnering with the City of Gonzales to inform FFN policies, strategies, and services. Our Gonzales partners are developing an FFN support network of licensed providers and early learning professionals to build the capacity of FFNs.

Spring Spruce Up

Play is essential to the healthy development of children and adolescents. Play influences the development of fine and gross motor skills, language, socialization, personal awareness, emotional well-being, creativity, problem solving and learning ability. The goal of Spring Spruce Up is to ensure early learning environments are well equipped to stimulate the social, emotional and academic development of our youngest children. Learn More.

Summer Bridge

Summer Bridge is a 5-week program that builds language, literacy, social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development skills for children with no prior preschool experience.

Early Childhood Education Innovation Fund

UWMC established an Early Care and Education Innovation Fund to support creative strategies that increase and/or maintain the number of licensed child care slots in the County. Learn more.