Want to honor Father’s Day? Fund child care

child care 1245745076

Earlier this year, we visited a child care center in downtown Los Angeles — reading a well-thumbed copy of “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” to a class of giddy preschoolers.

While the kids were enjoying story time, the anxiety of the adults lining the room was plain to see. These parents and early educators know how thoroughly our child care system is failing young learners and their families.

For millions of Americans, a quality early education means brutal financial sacrifices. Right now, four in ten families are taking on debt just to cover the costs of child care.

That enormous strain can be found across America, from California to Massachusetts. In every zip code, child care and early education are systematically underfunded and underprioritized — with devastating results.

Families are choosing between paying for groceries and paying for the care that enables them to hold a job. Meanwhile, early educators often can’t afford child care for their own kids while working full time.

Even if parents can keep up with the outrageous cost of care, they may not be able to find an available classroom. Most Americans live in an area with enough child care slots for no more than a third of local children.

Since Republicans allowed federal relief funding to expire last year, this affordability crisis has only gotten worse. In the 39 states that haven’t stepped in with their own stop-gap funding, nearly a quarter of parents have lost their child care.

That requires families to make impossible choices. Nearly 3 million parents with young kids have been forced to quit a job or make other job changes due to child care issues.

When parents can’t work, households miss out on paychecks, consumers tighten their belts and businesses lose quality employees. Altogether, the child care crisis is costing our economy $122 billion every year.

But it’s kids who are paying the long-term price. Students who are denied a pre-K education are less likely to master basic skills in elementary school, graduate high school, head to college or ultimately own a home.

And yet, the United States stands alone in how severely we undervalue child care. Our peer nations spend an average of $14,000 on each toddler’s education. We spend just $500.

If we want to empower Americans to truly thrive and compete on the world stage, we need to reimagine the way our economy works for working families.

This Father’s Day, as the House Democratic whip and the founder of the Congressional Dads Caucus, we’re standing with the millions of families who want more for their kids and for our country.

America can unleash the full potential of our parents and prepare the next generation to go even further.

The moms and dads of the House Democratic Caucus are uniting behind an Affordable Child Care Agenda — a call to action that envisions affordable, accessible care for families and fair wages for care workers.

Now is the time to get involved, share your own child care story, and become a Citizen Cosponsor.

What could be a better day to get started?

Katherine Clark represents Massachusetts’ 5th District, is the Democratic whip of the House and is the highest-ranking mom in congressional leadership.Jimmy Gomez represents California’s 34th District and is the founder and chair of the Congressional Dads Caucus.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top