Dear Member of Congress,
As Congress makes funding decisions, I ask that you prioritize investments in high-quality, affordable childcare.
Parents face serious challenges these days, starting with the fact that childcare costs more than college tuition in most states. Further, the cost of childcare disproportionately affects low-income families as they are forced to spend a greater percentage of their income on childcare.
Unfortunately, only one in six children eligible for federal childcare assistance receives help.
The people teaching and caring for our children, 94% of whom are women, are struggling significantly since childcare is one of the lowest paying industries in the United States. Teachers caring for our children on average are paid $10.72 an hour (or $22,310 a year). We know that a good teacher can make all the difference in the quality of a child’s care. In fact, low wages undermine our ability to recruit and retain qualified providers.
These investments don’t just boost individual families or workers, but also the American economy. High-quality early learning programs for children from birth through age five produce a 13% per year return on investment through improved results in education, health, social behaviors and employment. In fact, children who receive high-quality childcare that meets their social, emotional, and academic needs are more likely to succeed in school, graduate from high school, gain stable employment, and are less likely to be arrested as adults. Investing money now helps us save money in the future.
Moms, dads, and concerned voters made this a priority in the 2016 election. Public investments in high-quality, affordable childcare is a bipartisan issue. In fact, a 2016 poll by the First Five Years Fund found that 90% of voters (both Republicans and Democrats) agree that our elected leaders should work together to make quality early childhood education, including childcare, more accessible and affordable to low- and middle-income families.
I hope you will be a leader on this issue moving forward and support legislation that funds high-quality, affordable childcare.