Dear Members of Congress:
As we engage with our over one million members, we are continuing to hear that child care is one the most pressing needs they are facing - particularly as more states open up and parents (especially mothers) are asked to go back to work. However, any return to work is nearly impossible without access to child care. As the White House itself has noted, 2.3 million women have been forced out of the labor force, and in January alone, 1.4 million fewer mothers of school-aged children were working for pay than had been in the previous year. A lot of this is due to a lack of access to childcare and paid leave. Many parents still struggle to find high quality affordable child care. There are simply not enough slots that fit most parents' needs, and often the cost of this care is well beyond the means of most families. We cannot recover without prioritizing childcare, we need to enable our breadwinners to get back to work to support their families.
We were pleased to see the initial investments in home and community based services and child care facilities in the recent announcement on the American Jobs Plan. This was a great first step in supporting a care infrastructure. We are hearing that these crucial investments may be under threat though. Any reduction in these commitments would be a devastating loss for families, our labor force, and our economy. It is imperative that dollars prioritizing the care infrastructure are included as this bill moves through Congress.
We need a comprehensive, federally funded child care system that ensures all families have access to high-quality, affordable child care that is available when and where they need it and invests in the education and compensation of a diverse workforce such as the Child Care for Working Families Act.
Any reduction in a commitment to this would be a devastating loss for families, our labor force, and our economy. Decades of underinvestment is what made the pandemic so disastrous for our communities. And it’s costing not only women, moms, and disproportionately women of color and their families, but our economy overall.
In the face of a historic crisis, we have a historic opportunity, to finally implement the care infrastructure our families have needed for so long. We cannot let this moment pass us by. Women, moms, children and families should not be forced to carry the burden of caretaking and job loss any longer. Let’s build a vibrant future where childcare is a structural investment for our nation.