I’m newly back in the office after having my baby and I have one thing on my mind—we HAVE TO solve the childcare crisis in this country.
At my neighborhood meetup for new parents not a week goes by that childcare doesn’t come up as a major issue for families. Moms with no choice but to quit jobs they love because of the high-cost of care. Waiting lists so long that families are depleting their life's savings to take unpaid time off work on the off chance a childcare spot opens up. It’s never ending. One parent is even flying in different family members from across the country in shifts to piece together care.
Families are trying their best. They are being stretched impossibly thin and scraping together whatever they can to make it work. As a nation we can (and must) do better.
The stories are unBEARable, but they don’t need to be. On Tuesday, February 26th, MomsRising joined our friends at the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Center for American Progress, National Women’s Law Center, and United Parent Leaders Action Network to celebrate the introduction of the Child Care for Working Families Act and deliver cute stuffed bears to elected leaders to urge them to support childcare for all:
Why this bill? Because it is PAWsitively fantastic!
The Child Care for Working Families Act is a big, bear-hug sized comprehensive solution that would expand access to affordable, high-quality childcare and pre-K for families while improving compensation and training for the childcare workforce. If passed, it would:
- Lower childcare costs for low-income and middle-income families to no more than 7% of a family’s household income through a sliding scale, regardless of how many children they have.
- Support universal access to high-quality preschool programs for all low- and middle-income 3 and 4 year-olds.
- Significantly improve compensation and training for the childcare workforce (currently one of the lowest paid professions) to ensure that our nation’s teachers and caregivers have the support they need.
- Assist parents in selecting the childcare provider of their choice—whether that be a center or family childcare home, friend, relative, or neighbor. In addition, improve care during non-traditional hours to help meet the needs of working families.
- Support for more inclusive, high-quality childcare providers and centers for children with disabilities.
- Help all Head Start programs meet new expanded duration requirements and provide full-day, full-year programming.
The Child Care for Working Families Act comes bearing real solutions to an unbearable crisis and families like mine are here for it!
It’s more important than ever that we speak up. Too often, people think of childcare as a “personal issue” - as in our own problem to solve. But we know that when enough people are experiencing the same problem, it’s not an epidemic of personal failings, but a larger problem that needs larger solutions. Continued investments like these can improve the well-being of our children, our own peace of mind and productivity at work, the care workforce, and our communities.
In fact, increasing access to high quality, affordable early learning opportunities (like childcare)—particularly for vulnerable children—doesn’t just help families and the workforce, it also helps our national economy.
A new report that came out just last month found that the economic impact of the childcare crisis in our country is a roaring $57 billion a year. BILLIONS in losses each year?!
This is particularly staggering when considering that there is no better return on investment for taxpayers than investing in early education and care. According to one figure, for every $1 invested in early learning and childcare, taxpayers see a 13% return in investments due to fewer later grade repetitions, fewer later interactions with the criminal justice system, and more. So instead of losing money, investments in early childhood are likely to lead to significant economic gains.