Child Care Aware of America Launches Future of Quality Child Care Initiative

By CCAoA on December 01, 2021

Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) announced today that it is launching the Future of Quality Child Care Initiative, an in-depth examination of how child care quality can be improved when inequities are removed, parent preferences are affirmed, and all providers are valued equally.  

CCAoA approaches this topic with a level of curiosity and purpose in service to a moment where the transformation of the child care system is at hand. It is urgent and required for re-envisioning equity within a system that is currently inequitable. The initiative’s goal is to clarify what quality means for early childhood education across provider settings, including home-based care and care offered during non-traditional hours. It will include an analysis of the pandemic’s impact on care and will be informed by input from child care providers, educators, parents, children, employers and other organizations.  
 
CCAoA will publish policy, research and practice recommendations on professional development and learning, resource allocation, provider capacity building, quality rating and improvement, and licensure beginning in the summer of 2022. This work will help policymakers, advocates and providers better understand how to create measures of quality that are equitable and benefit both children and the child care field. 

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CCAoA Statement on House Passage of Build Back Better Act

By CCAoA on November 19, 2021

Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., CEO of Child Care Aware® of America, released the following statement in response to passage of the Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives: 

Today we are one step closer to making an accessible, affordable child care system a reality for families and children across the country. To the Representatives that voted to advance the Build Back Better Act – thank you.  

High-quality child care and preschool support the well-being and economic security of our children, families and communities. Our future as a country – both immediate and long-term – requires a path forward towards a more equitable system of early learning that has robust support.  

The Build Back Better Act would put us on that path by investing long-term to make high-quality child care affordable and accessible for millions of families and ensure universal preschool is available for all 3- and 4-year-old children. 

As family budgets are stretched, there is urgency for Congress to act and get the Build Back Better Act across the finish line. It’s time to get this done.  

Topics: Press Release

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How the pandemic has forced a new generation of latchkey kids

By CCAoA on November 15, 2021

TODAY Show (NBC)

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Overnight, millions of children became latchkey kids as after school programs shuttered, and remaining programs raised prices and reduced available slots.

"Having 7.7 million children in 2020 who don't have access to care and are left alone and unsupervised is certainly a concern," Dr. Lynette Fraga, CEO Child Care Aware, told TODAY Monday.

"So many of these programs shut down. And either temporarily, or unfortunately, many shut down permanently," Fraga said. "And this has really caused, of course, a tremendous challenge for parents who are accessing care."

Watch the story.

Topics: Media Mention

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CCAoA Statement on the Announcement of the Build Back Better Framework

By CCAoA on October 28, 2021

Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., CEO of Child Care Aware® of America, released the following statement in response to the Build Back Better Framework:  

Today, President Joe Biden announced the framework for the Build Back Better Act, which includes $400 billion for child care and early learning investments over 6 years. Child Care Aware of America applauds this monumental announcement to bring about transformative change for nearly every family with young children.  

The Build Back Better Act framework prioritizes child care and early learning alongside investments in climate and caregiving and will support our families and communities in the coming years. This demonstrates an understanding of the critical role child care and early learning play in the well-being and economic security of our families and communities. New, long-term programs to make high-quality child care affordable and accessible for millions of families and ensure universal preschool is available for all 3- and 4-year-old children, with funding provided for 6 years, will put us on the path to achieving a more equitable system of early learning. 

The negotiations in Congress were not without compromise. We will continue to push Congress to move forward with additional investments to support families, like paid leave.   

We urge Congress to quickly pass legislation to make the historic Build Back Better framework a reality. Families and children cannot wait, as our child care and early learning system is in a precarious state. The Build Back Better Act will bring meaningful change to millions of children, setting them up for success and ensuring their families have support. 

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Biden's finishing what Obama started with early learning

By Mario Cardona on October 27, 2021

The Hill

Op-ed by Mario Cardona, CCAoA Chief of Policy and Practice

President Biden’s child care and universal preschool proposals have received a lot of attention, much of it focused on whether the proposals will survive negotiations in the Senate around what to maintain in the Build Back Better Act, the President’s “human infrastructure” bill. 

What has attracted less attention is how the policy design represents a distillation of some of the best thinking on how to create universal preschool and a child care entitlement that guarantees nearly every family access to affordable, accessible, high-quality early learning opportunities.

Read the full op-ed.

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Exacerbated by pandemic, child care crisis hampers economy

By CCAoA on October 27, 2021

Associated Press

“Early learning is no longer seen as just a women’s issue or a children’s issue. It’s really seen as an economic issue. It’s about workforce participation,” said Mario Cardona, policy chief for Child Care Aware of America. “It’s about employers who don’t have to worry about whether they’ll be able to rely upon employees.”

Child Care Aware of America estimates 9% of licensed child care programs have permanently closed since the pandemic began, based on its tally of nearly 16,000 shuttered centers and in-home day cares in 37 states between December 2019 and March 2021.

Read the full article.

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'Crisis level': Child care providers grapple with a worker shortage as federal relief is slow to help

By CCAoA on October 10, 2021

USA Today

State administrators are trying to balance the need to act quickly while also making wise investments in using the COVID relief dollars, said Mario Cardona, chief of policy and practice of advocacy group Child Care Aware of America.

"A lot of these systems are not built to serve as many as we're hoping to serve," he said, noting the child care sector saw declines in the workforce before the pandemic. "There are systemic issues that have long linked childcare in the form of poor compensation, inadequate or non-existent benefits. And at times, unsteady availability of work." 

Some classrooms have empty seats that providers are unable to fill because they don't have sufficient staff to meet the demand, Cardona said. 

"I don't think that we can ask providers to do any more than what they're currently doing," he said. "It's really an area that's going to require increased levels of investment from the government. And so right now states are in a position to help leverage some of the funding that they received through the different relief packages."

Read the full article.

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Biden's child, elder care proposals come with a hefty price tag. But can they transform the industry?

By CCAoA on September 30, 2021

USA Today

Mario Cardona, chief of policy and practice at Child Care Aware of America, also points to economic reverberations later in life. Mothers who are forced to work part-time or leave their jobs entirely to care for their children aren't able to put more money into their 401(k) plan or other mechanisms that exist to support retirement.  

 

An average woman with two children could see an increase in lifetime earning of $97,000 with access to affordable child care, according a report from Columbia University and the National Women's Law Center released earlier this year. About 1.3 million women in the U.S. could see a collective $130 billion boost in incomes over their lifetimes.  

 

"By not providing affordable, accessible high-quality child care for folks to take advantage of, it hurts decades later when they're looking at retirement because they weren't able to save as much as they could have potentially by being engaged in the labor force," he said. 

 

Read the full article.

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Can the U.S. create universal pre-K without repeating past mistakes?

By CCAoA on September 30, 2021

The 19th

“The reality is if we can get this done, we are still going to have to work with states,” said Anne Hedgepeth, the senior director of federal and state government affairs at Child Care Aware of America, a child care advocacy group. “That’s where we can really also create the guardrails needed to make sure that no particular kind of early learning setting or age group faces unintended consequences as a result of what could be a tremendous influx of long-needed resources.” 

 

The pandemic has also already created something of a roadmap. Earlier this year, states got an unprecedented $39 billion to spend on improving their child care systems — the largest boost in child care funding to date.  

 

In the months since, states have started to work through where they would put those funds, building up better lists of where child care providers are located, what the needs are and how to reach them. 

 

“Even though there are gaps for sure … it does tell us there is some real ability for state-led agencies to adapt and to make this happen,” Hedgepeth said. 

 

Read full article.

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Families struggle to afford childcare

By CCAoA on September 29, 2021

CBS Evening News

CCAoA CEO Lynette Fraga spoke with CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Nancy Cordes about the current state of child care and how the federal funding proposal will help parents.

Watch the story

Topics: Media Mention

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