SIGN ON: We need high-quality, affordable childcare!
I don’t have to tell you: the struggle is real when it comes to childcare!
In every state in the U.S., a month of childcare for two children costs more than the median rent. It’s no surprise that many parents are forced to leave the workforce, and forego a reliable paycheck, because they don’t have high-quality, affordable childcare and paid family leave – this results in $28.9 billion a year in lost wages.
That’s some serious cash we are leaving on the table!
We need the U.S. Congress to step up to the plate and pass policies that increase access to childcare by addressing affordability for families and compensation for providers.
This is a super-important issue for our families. Key leaders in Congress are already starting to draft legislation on this issue, but we need to make sure it is the right type of legislation—not just a benefit for the wealthy.
Childcare costs keep going up, up, up and our wages just can’t keep pace. It feels like no matter what we do, it’s difficult to make ends meet and pay for the high-quality childcare we know our little ones need to learn and grow, and we need to work.
In fact, families with the lowest incomes are paying about a third of their household budget on childcare. This is on top of housing, food, healthcare, and transportation. Just listen to what Jessica, a mom and MomsRising member, has to say:
“My husband and I have 3 kids. We both have good paying jobs yet childcare costs for our 2 year-old keeps us living paycheck to paycheck. Costs are so high our two older kids suffer because we can’t always afford to get them the things they need or want. As much as we don’t like renting, buying a house is not even a financial possibility. Childcare literally prevents us from getting ahead and we have close to 10 years to go before we are no longer paying for any childcare. On the flip side, my niece works for that same childcare center and despite how much they charge, I’m shocked at how little she makes. She is slightly past minimum wage, yet she has a BA in early education. There has to be a solution to help with both situations.”
All children deserve the opportunity to succeed, which includes early care in safe, nurturing, educational environments. And every childcare provider deserves to earn a livable wage. In fact, the quality of childcare is dependent on it—low wages undermine our ability to recruit and retain qualified providers. But the lack of public investment in childcare means that families are paying more than they can really afford for childcare—in many states the same as rent or public college tuition—and providers are struggling to get by on below poverty wages.
This is where Congress comes in. A lot of lip service—both good ideas and not so good ideas—have been discussed recently. Childcare played a major role in the 2016 election with candidates from both sides of the aisle proposing solutions to our childcare crisis.
It’s important that federal legislation addresses quality, access, and affordability. Increasing the compensation of providers, and building a more stable workforce, is essential. The people teaching and caring for our children, 94% of whom are women, are struggling significantly since childcare is one of the lowest paying industries in the United States. Teachers caring for our children on average are paid $10.72 an hour (or $22,310 a year). Why is it that we undervalue the care industry so much? Especially when we know that a good teacher can make all the difference in the quality of a child’s care. Good childcare policy makes sure that those most in need get the most help-families and teachers alike.
High-quality, affordable childcare opportunities are of top concern to our families. In fact, a 2016 poll found that 90% of voters (both Republicans and Democrats) agree that our elected leaders should work together to make quality early childhood education, including childcare, more accessible and affordable to low- and middle-income families.
Parents can’t work if their childcare isn’t working for them. And when parents can’t work because of lack of quality, affordable childcare, our entire economy suffers.
There are a lot of distractions these days up on Capitol Hill (from late-night Tweets to political infighting). We need to break through that chatter and let our elected leaders know that this is a priority for parents across the country. So, after you take action, can you forward this email to your friends and families and post our action link to Facebook and Twitter!? The more people who speak out, the stronger our voice will be.
Together we are a powerful voice for our children and economy.
P.S. Can you share your story about how your childcare is or isn’t working for you? Being able to share the stories of real parents, like Jessica above, makes a real difference in convincing lawmakers to support childcare legislation. Share your experiences with us here!