Earlier today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the “Child Care for Working Families Act of 2019” on Capitol Hill. At the press conference, Senator Murray was joined by Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Bob Casey (D-PA), as well as several parent advocates. The legislation is nearly identical to the 2017 version.
Child care plays an important role in the U.S. economy, helping to generate 15 million jobs and more than $500 billion in income annually. Families need child care so they can work, and children need a safe place where they can learn and continue their healthy development. Unfortunately, far too many low-income families do not have access to high-quality care, or cannot afford it. Over the past decade, the cost of child care has remained high, which has forced families to make the difficult decision of trying to afford putting their child in child care or leaving the workforce altogether.
On average, millions of working families pay more for child care than they would for a mortgage/rent, transportation needs, or food every month. The Child Care for Working Families Act would ensure low-income families pay no more than seven percent of their annual income on child care, help young children gain access to preschool, and for the child care workforce.
The Child Care for Working Families Act would ensure that working families would have access to high-quality, affordable care, and would greatly expand and enhance child care investment and programming by:
- Creating a federal-state child care partnership for children from birth through age 13;
- Doubling the number of children eligible for assistance under the Child Care and Development Block Grant(CCDBG), and ensure these children gain access to high-quality early learning programs;
- Provide necessary resources to establish and/or expand the child care resource and referral networks;
- Supporting the child care workforce through increased training and compensation by ensuring they are paid a living wage;
- Offering training and professional development opportunities for providers for strategies for, but not limited to, nutrition and physical activity, age-appropriate exposure to screen media, and integration and utilization of instructional methods to assist learning across disciplines (literacy, arts, science, etc);
- Establishing provider payment levels that reflect higher wages and provide investment for scholarships;
- Improving the quality of care in home-based, family, and neighbor settings, and during non-traditional working hours to support families;
- Addressing the functional and access needs of children with disabilities (including infants and toddlers) in child care settings by increasing funding under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA);
- Helping states create universal preschool programs for three and four year olds during the school day, and provide a higher matching rate for infants and toddlers; and
- Helping Head Start provide full-day, full-year programming.
Child Care Aware® of America proudly endorses this legislation and encourages all members of Congress to support this bill. Contact your members of Congress and ask them to sponsor this legislation, or thank them for their current support.