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Families and child care providers struggle with high costs

By CCAoA on May 15, 2022

Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien

For many American families, paying for child care is expensive, but necessary. On the other end, child care providers struggle with thin margins after paying staff, food and facility costs.

CCAoA CEO Dr. Lynette Fraga spoke with Laura Chavez about the child care crisis: “The first part we need to address to come to a solution is to ensure we are aware and we acknowledge that child care is an issue everyone needs to focus on.”

Chavez also visits Clinton, Mississippi to see how one family and and a child care owner are working to close those gaps.

Watch the story

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New Mexico to offer a year of free child care to most residents

By CCAoA on April 29, 2022

Washington Post

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced Thursday that New Mexico will cover the costs of child care for most residents through June 2023. The benefit, which covers families earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, makes New Mexico the first state to offer no-cost care to such a broad range of incomes, officials said.

Mario Cardona, the chief of policy and practice for Child Care Aware of America, a nonprofit that advocates for affordable child care, called the announcement “the type of thing that we should be seeing across the country.”

Though other states, including Georgia, Virginia and Kansas, have expanded eligibility and made child care more affordable during the pandemic, none have gone as far as New Mexico, which has committed a historic and unusual amount of resources to the sector, Cardona said. Other states have largely relied on federal relief from the Cares Act and the American Rescue Plan to pay for child-care improvements, but the last of those dollars expires in 2024 and lawmakers may be hesitant, Cardona said, to roll out new programs using temporary money.

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CCAoA to Lead Provider Appreciation Day® on May 6

By CCAoA on April 26, 2022

Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) will lead Provider Appreciation Day® on May 6 to recognize and celebrate the efforts of child care providers across the country. 

Provider Appreciation Day® is celebrated the Friday before Mother’s Day every year to recognize child care providers, teachers and other educators of young children everywhere. CCAoA convenes Provider Appreciation Day® each year to amplify our nation’s collective gratitude for those who support the social, emotional and physical care of our youngest children. 

 “Child care providers were ‘essential’ long before the pandemic. They keep our children safe, nurture their curiosity and prepare them for a lifetime of learning and growth,” said Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., CEO of CCAoA. “Together with our network of Child Care Resource and Referral agencies, nonprofit and business partners, we invite you to join us in thanking and celebrating child care providers across the nation.” 

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Unite/Disrupt/Transform with Child Care Aware of America

By CCAoA on April 15, 2022

Early Learning Nation

Child Care Aware of America’s Symposium brings together individuals from across the country to discuss research, policy and practices related to the early child care and education community. Taking place May 1-4 in Arlington, Va., this year’s four-day event offers opportunities to connect with thought leaders, Congressional staff and early education professionals from across the nation.

Early Learning Nation asked participants and speakers, What does the symposium theme Unite/Disrupt/Transform mean to you? 

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The American Rescue Plan’s Child Care Test Run

By CCAoA on April 11, 2022

The American Prospect

Clark’s grant is part of $39 billion in funding that the ARP sent to the child care sector in stabilization grants to keep programs from going under. The money has done precisely what it promised, keeping providers’ doors open and children enrolled. But it also did something else: It served as a test run for what it would look like if the federal government decided to make a substantial, ongoing investment in child care and early-childhood education. And it proved that such an investment would work.

On top of that, many states, controlled by both Democrats and Republicans, are putting the ARP child care funds toward the kinds of investments that Democrats had envisioned in the original Build Back Better package.

“That tells us there is an opening for additional resources that support those kind of policy changes,” said Anne Hedgepeth, deputy chief of policy at Child Care Aware of America.

Many states and providers put the grants toward higher compensation to try to solve the staffing issue, but when the money dries up, providers will once again be strapped to pay their teachers competitively. That will mean the return of wait lists and classroom closures. “We’ll see programs having to shutter their doors,” Hedgepeth said. Providers will have no choice but to keep increasing prices on already-stretched families.

“Every state will have now managed a robust grant program in their child care systems where they reached thousands of programs and providers,” Hedgepeth said. The kind of investment that would have been made through Build Back Better “really lends itself to leveraging the systems that have been built under the American Rescue Plan Act funding.”

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The States with the Most and Least Affordable Child Care

By CCAoA on March 31, 2022

U.S. News & World Report

Child care is one of the biggest expenses for working parents. In over half of states, full-time care for an infant costs more than college tuition, according to Child Care Aware of America, an organization that advocates for more affordable child care. But costs vary hugely depending on where you are in the country, from around $5,400 a year to take care of a 4-year-old in Mississippi to almost $17,000 a year in Massachusetts.

“A lot of parents would like to send their children to a formal, paid child care program, where they could get a really good foundation for kindergarten, but parents can’t afford what it would actually cost to provide that kind of care,” says Kristina Haynie, a data analyst at Child Care Aware.

What makes something affordable, of course, depends on how much a family makes and what kind of care they need. Caring for babies costs more than caring for toddlers, and a daycare center may charge more than someone offering care out of their home. In a report released in February, Child Care Aware ranked states by affordability by calculating the average price for full-time care in 2020 and comparing that to median incomes for single and married parents.

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The cost of childcare: How to fix a system on the brink

By CCAoA on March 31, 2022

uh-PARENT-ly podcast (WGN Radio/Chicago)

Dr. Lynette Fraga, CEO of Child Care Aware, joins uh-PARENT-ly hosts Tracy Weiner and Anne Johnsos to talk about what quality childcare looks like and why everyone should care about quality of and access to services.

Listen to the podcast

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CCAoA Symposium to Highlight Ways to Transform Child Care System

By CCAoA on March 29, 2022

Child Care Aware® of America’s 2022 Symposium on May 1-4 in Arlington, Virginia, will bring together Child Care Resource and Referral professionals, child care providers, parents, policymakers, funders and the business community to tackle complex issues and strategize ways to transform the child care system during this pivotal moment. 

Featured speakers will include Indra K. Nooyi, who served as CEO and chairman of PepsiCo from 2006 to 2019 and is one of the world’s most sought-after advisors to entrepreneurs, executives and governments. She is also revered as a role model for women and immigrants, and celebrated for her empowering messages on inclusivity. 

The symposium will also feature Ai-jen Poo, a next-generation labor leader, award-winning organizer, author and a leading voice in the women’s movement. She is the Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Director of Caring Across Generations, Co-Founder of SuperMajority and a Trustee of the Ford Foundation. 

The symposium will include tracks on:  

  • Innovative Programs and Practices 
  • Transforming Child Care Through Data, Research and Policy 
  • The Business of Child Care 
  • Transforming Child Care Into an Equitable System 

It will also include an Advocacy Day, giving participants an opportunity to meet with their elected officials’ offices to share critical on-the-ground perspectives from the child care field that will help inform long-term investments in federal child care funding. 

For more information and to register: 

Topics: Press Release

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CCAoA Contributes to Civil Rights Principles for Early Care and Education

By CCAoA on March 11, 2022

Child Care Aware of America joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, along with 45 civil rights and education organizations, to release Civil Rights Principles for Early Care and Education on March 9. The principles outline how decision makers at all levels can ensure an education system that offers meaningful equal opportunity and success for all children, especially those who have been historically marginalized.

"CCAoA is proud to have contributed to the development of these Civil Rights Principles for Early Care and Education," said Mario Cardona, CCAoA Chief of Policy and Practice. "They identify fundamental elements of early learning that protect civil rights and advance equity for children, families, staff and providers."

CCAoA is the first organization focused on child care to become a member of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. 

Learn more about the Civil Rights Principles for Early Care and Education.

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Grandparents As First Responders? Makes Sense.

By CCAoA on March 06, 2022

Your Valuable Home (podcast)

There’s a childcare problem across the U.S., which is preventing lots of working moms from going back to work. Are grandparents a partial solution, as they were at the height of the pandemic? Listen in on this vital discussion with Donna Butts, Executive Director of Generations United and Dr. Lynette Fraga, CEO of Child Care Aware of America. Some possible solutions surfaced during this interview.

Listen to the podcast (segment starts at 34:00)

Your Valuable Home

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