Join the Movement for Childcare!
I had my 20-week ultrasound last week for our first baby and my partner have never been more over the moon...and terrified all at the same time. Nothing could make the fact that we are going to be parents more real than seeing our sweet baby girl sucking her thumb on the screen (I mean could she be any cuter already!?!).
But in our rollercoaster of emotions, one reality came up front and center for us quickly - how the heck are we going to afford childcare in our state - where, as is the case with most states, childcare costs are higher than college tuition?!?!
For our young family, these numbers have us breathing in a paper bag and turning our baby's college savings account into a childcare savings account...please tell me I’m not alone here?
Thankfully, I see some hope on the horizon. Last week I got to join hundreds of moms, dads, teachers, grandparents, caregivers, and advocates for the Grassroots Assembly for Childcare and Early Education - a historic nonpartisan convening hosted by over 30 grassroots groups and advocates working to make sure decision makers make investing in early learning programs, like childcare and PreK, a TOP priority. I'm inspired, fired up, and ready to see a change in childcare!
And I’m not the only one from MomsRising who was there. MomsRising moms from places like California, Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina flew in from Washington, DC to attend the assembly on June 19th and 20th with over two hundred other early learning champions to learn from each other, plan together, show the strength of this growing movement, and connect with elected leaders.
This was critical because families like mine need solutions...like yesterday.
Right now, more than half of all Americans live in childcare deserts and, for those who can access care, the cost exceeds that of most major household expenses including housing. This is important, because when childcare is unavailable, the maternal workforce, in particular, is disproportionately impacted. Even a 10 percent decrease in availability of early childhood education reduces employment of single mothers by 3 to 4 percent and married women by 5 to 6 percent?!
Enough is enough. Leaders need to hear our experiences and know that affordable, high-quality childcare is a top priority for families across the nation. I'm planning to share my story far and wide - can I count on your to do the same?
Too often, people think of childcare and early education 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 systemic issue that needs a larger solution. And lifting up your experiences help make that happen! And those public solutions 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 children and parents, it also helps our national economy. There is almost no better return on investments for taxpayers than investing in early education and care. For example for every $1 invested in early learning and childcare, taxpayers get back $13 later due to fewer later grade repetitions, fewer later interactions with the criminal justice system, and more. It's a win on all fronts!
That’s why we are coming together! This is an issue that impacts all of us. And the more of us who raise our voices on this issue, the more noise we’ll make and the more powerful we’ll be! Join us in this fight by sharing your story here or by sharing your experience using the #Movement4Childcare hashtag on Twitter.