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Use The US and the High Price of Care Report to Advocate for Child Care Policies

October 25, 2019


At Child Care Aware® of America, we understand the importance of translating research findings into actions. Each year, our network of passionate advocates use our research to advocate for child care policies that increase access to affordable, high-quality child care.  This research drives public dialogue on the issue and informs policymakers and advocates in their work. The US and the High Price of Child Care is no different in its ability to support advocacy for change.  

This year’s report presents our model of child care as an ecosystem composed of children, families, child care providers, communities, government bodies and private businesses. Child care is an issue that affects the entire country. When families have access to affordable, high-quality child care everyone benefits. Children are better prepared for school, parents can work and businesses can function more efficiently with a stable workforce. Yet, our report finds that child care is still unaffordable from many families. In most states, we found that child care accounts for a large amount of annual income, especially for families led by single mothers. In more than half of states, child care prices rival the amount spent on housing and annual tuition and fees at a public university. 

The US and the High Price of Child Care would not have been possible without Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (or CCR&Rs) contributing price data all across the country. CCR&R agencies provide many different services depending on where you live including child care referrals and other parenting supports, child care provider trainings and technical assistance and other efforts to increase the quality and availability of child care. CCR&Rs connect with each of the members of the child care ecosystem to work towards a better child care system. They are the thread that connects all of these members together so that lasting solutions can be found. 

Making your legislative ask 

Setting up a meeting with your elected officials is easy and Child Care Works has resources to help you make it happen. Preparing for the meeting will make it a success. Consider sharing your personal story, or the story of a family you know, and backing it up with statistics from The US and the High Price of Child Care to help you make your case. That’s the formula for an effective legislative request—marrying the personal with the factual and then pivoting to the “ask." 

For example, your legislative ask could be for more funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). This ask might benefit from sharing the personal story of your family or a family you’ve worked with that wasn’t able to access child care. As The US and the High Price of Child Care explains, in California, the price of child care for one infant averages around $16,542 per year in a center. This amounts to 57% of state median income for a single-parent family and nearly 18% of state median income for a married couple family. With an average annual price of $10,609, family child care for an infant in California is less than center-based care. However, this still represents 36% of state median income for a single-parent family and 11% of income for a married-couple family. It’s easy to show that the price of child care is unaffordable in your state. The US and the High Price of Child Care’s Appendices break down the annual price of child care by provider type and child age group, making it easy for advocates to tell the story of child care affordability in their states. 

Use the data to support your requests and to supplement the individual stories you see as you work with providers and parents each day. It will bolster your ask and provide lawmakers with a reason to support your issue. 

And, of course, spread the word over social media by sharing graphics from our share kit. 

With just a few steps a week or a month, depending on your schedule, you can make a big difference in getting kids, families, and educators the public funding they need. 

Other ways to stay involved: 

You can make a difference in the lives of children and families by contacting your elected officials using the research-based tools and resources we work hard to share. With your help we can improve the quality, affordability, and availability of child care so that all children can start school ready to learn. 

Access the full report, The US and the High Price of Child Care, along with our Appendices and County Price Supplement. Let us know in the comments how your legislative ask goes! 


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Topics: Policy & Advocacy

Anne Hedgepeth

Written by Anne Hedgepeth

Anne Hedgepeth is a government relations and grassroots advocacy strategist, with experience motivating policy change at the local, state, and federal levels. As Child Care Aware® of America’s Deputy Chief of Policy, she manages the organization’s public policy work, as well as supporting the advocacy and awareness efforts of child care resource and referral agencies and advocates across the country. Hedgepeth previously worked with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to successfully pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and to update and implement Title IX regulations and guidance in schools across the country. Hedgepeth earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Gender Studies from Davidson College and a master’s degree in public policy from George Mason University. Contact Anne at