Good morning, my name is Deandra Ludovice and I would like to thank Leader Pelosi for hosting this important discussion on women’s economic empowerment and I’d like to thank MomsRising, of which I am a proud member, for inviting me to speak.
As a first-time parent, I have faced many unexpected challenges. From learning how to function on sporadic sleep, to selecting the right type of bottle or sippy cup, each challenge large or small has been an eye-opening experience, especially the challenge of finding childcare for my 15-month-old son.
I knew that affordable childcare would be a vital necessity -- my husband and I both have full-time jobs at nonprofits, our budget is very limited, and we do not have family nearby. The high cost of childcare, which is more than a college education in most states, has influenced where we live and what kind of jobs we have.
We currently have a great situation with a sitter who comes to our home. This type of one-on-one care has been perfect for my son and our schedules, but his needs are changing.
I started exploring daycare options to support my son’s social development. I was shocked and a bit discouraged to find that PART-TIME care at some traditional centers was the same or more than what we are currently paying our full-time sitter. I also found that some of the centers had waiting lists and required upfront deposits, additional money that we don’t have.
We have put plans on hold for now but we know that preschool is right around the corner and we will soon have to face the high costs of childcare. I believe that providing a high-quality education as early as possible will prepare my son for success in school and life.
For my family, especially my growing little one, continued support for early learning programs is extremely important. Making early learning and childcare more accessible for families like mine means that my son and many other children like him can get the care and education they need and deserve.