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Lauren Hipp's picture

Summer is in full swing – kids are out of school and while we’d like it to be all popsicles, playgrounds, and making memories, the fact is: families in Iowa and across the country continue with the childcare struggle-juggle and rising costs make making ends meet more difficult than ever before. 

*Summer break shouldn’t be breaking families, it’s past time to ensure we have policies that help families thrive!

Costs are soaring for families, and parents and caregivers need real policies that keep us whole: affordable child care and investments in the Women Infant Children supplemental nutrition program (WIC) are critically important for a baseline of care and survival! 

Our elected leaders need to hear us loud and clear – send a quick Letter to the Editor to tell Congress that families need access to affordable childcare and WIC!

The bottom line is: families can’t work if their childcare isn’t working for them, and children and families are barred from a thriving life if they can’t access the basics.  Things are breaking down for families across the board - and not just during summer break. 

Our voices are needed. Due to increased economic pressure on families:

  • WIC (the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program) has experienced a 12% increase in child participation since 2020 and the program is expected to serve 6.5 million pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and young children in fiscal year 2024. [1] For decades, there has been a bipartisan commitment in Congress to provide necessary funding to serve all eligible participants – and that support must continue. 
  • The average American family has to spend upwards of $3,000 on summer programs for two children. [2] This, on top of the fact that child care is already unaffordable for too many families with some families reporting paying a third of their take home pay to child care [3]. The high price of child care has long been a burden for most families, rivaling the cost of college in many states. [4]  

Raising a family in this country is stressful, expensive, and it too often leaves parents like me without a lot of options. Add to that the rising cost of food, gas, and rent and too many families in our community are struggling.

The good news is that Congress has the opportunity to provide funding for proven programs that support, lift up, and make a difference for our lives. And the funding decisions for programs like affordable childcare assistance and WIC are happening right now. Federal investments will mean more parents can get to work, knowing their kids are safe, loved, and learning in childcare programs that meet the needs of their families, and ensures that children have the nutrition they need to stay healthy.

Tell Congress to put down their popsicles and get to work for families: provide for affordable childcare and access to WIC NOW.

Providing for affordable childcare and WIC is not only the right thing to do to support families, it's also a smart economic decision. For instance, WIC serves to safeguard the health of low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating including breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals to health care. It is one of the most powerful tools we have to combat hunger and poverty and give babies a healthy start in life! Coupled with access for affordable child care, we can give children and families the foundation to thrive. 

And, when parents have reliable child care and access to food for our families, we miss less work, we stay in the workforce, we are able to concentrate more and we have to spend less money out of pocket for groceries and medical emergencies caused by malnutrition. That’s good for our employers, and it’s good for the economic health of our community.

Families like yours and mine may be struggling with the lack of action of Congress, and we may be down, but Congress, hear us now: we are not out! 

How does writing a letter make a difference?

By taking a moment to write a letter to the editor now, YOU will send a strong and swift signal to Congress that their constituents are concerned about child care. This is a powerful way to make sure our elected leaders get the message. Lawmakers are reading their local papers to get a sense of what matters to people in their own community. 

It’s easy! We’ll lead you through a quick process to write a letter to the editor. This tool is pretty amazing—just copy, paste, and edit one of our pre-drafted letters (or draft your own—we’ve provided talking points, too!) and send it to your paper with a few clicks. We can make the win of affordable, high-quality child care for all a reality! 

→ Join me and MomsRising members around the country to write a Letter to the Editor on child care and paid leave to your local newspaper now!

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