Moms Bring Teddy Bears and Children's Rhymes to Congress to Urge Swift Passage of Child Care for Working Families Act
WASHINGTON, DC – Immediately after U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) reintroduced the Child Care for Working Families Act at a Capitol Hill news conference this afternoon, MomsRising members from across the country delivered teddy bears and poems using the theme, “Brown bear, brown bear what do you see?” to their members of Congress. MomsRising is an online and on-the-ground organization of more than one million mothers and their families who care deeply about making high-quality, affordable early learning programs, like child care and pre-K, available to every family.
“Child care is a crisis for millions of working families, with low-income families under the most pressure,” said MomsRising Executive Director and CEO Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. “Child care costs have risen 25 percent in the past decade and, in 30 states and the District of Columbia, infant care now costs more than college tuition. And while the Trump administration has given lip service to child care, its response has been grossly inadequate to address the current crisis facing our nation. For instance, approximately half of America’s families live in a ‘child care desert,’ meaning they can’t access the quality child care they need. This leaves many working parents forced to choose between providing for their families and paying for care. Parents need safe, enriching places for their children to be so they can work; and children need safe, enriching early education so they can thrive. We need the Child Care for Working Families Act yesterday. This bill will do a tremendous amount to support kids, families, communities and our economy.”
The Child Care for Working Families Act would:
- Lower childcare costs for low- and middle-income families to no more than 7 percent 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 give our nation’s teachers and caregivers 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; and improve care during non-traditional hours to help meet the needs of working families.
- Support 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.
MomsRising member Krystina Cummins, a single mother who lives in Des Moines, Washington, described her years-long struggle to access quality child care and early education at the news conference. At one point, Cummins’ provider was located an hour-and-a-half away from her home on public transportation. She could not afford a car, so she and her children were on buses from sunup to sundown to get to and from this provider.
Today, Cummins’ 3- and 5-year-olds are in different partial-day early learning programs. “My dream is to go back to college and get my degree in social work or law,” Cummins says. “But since my 3- and 5-year-old each only have partial-day care, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, I fear I’m going to have to continue putting off my education.”
“Too many parents struggle with challenges like those Krystina faces,” said MomsRising Washington and National States Early Learning Campaign Director Lauren Hipp. “We need to bolster the child care workforce too. Every child care provider deserves to earn a livable wage and yet child care is one of the lowest paying industries. The quality of care is dependent on improving wages because low wages make it difficult to recruit and retain qualified providers. The Child Care for Working Families Act would provide a comprehensive solution by expanding access to affordable, high-quality child care and pre-K for families while improving compensation and training for the child care workforce. Making early learning opportunities like child care and pre-K a priority is a smart investment.”