We believe that providing public-private financial support for working families seeking but unable to find affordable-high quality child care services is a critical component of early childhood well-being.
Far too many families—from the poorest to middle-income earners—struggle to meet the high costs of child care. And far too many children are left without access to quality settings. Low-income working parents who are fortunate to receive child care assistance from the limited resources available are more likely to remain employed, move up in their jobs, and increase their earnings—strengthening family finances and our national economy. Children do better in school and in life when their parents work and have more income. Unfortunately the Child Care and Development Block Grant, the source of federal child care assistance, today helps fewer children today than it did in 1998. Access to subsidies allows working poor families to use their limited income to meet other basic needs such as food, rent, and household utilities. And it helps children have access to higher-quality child care. Additionally, a lack of affordable, quality child care affects our future workforce. Brain research has shown that, from the first moments of life through the early years, a child’s brain is laying the foundation for all future learning and resiliency through consistent, responsive interaction with a warm caregiver.
Supporters of early learning seem to be everywhere from executive board rooms to the political arena. Support for early learning is important, but dollars are crucial. A major investment in child care and early education would put children on a path to academic success and parents on a path to increased economic opportunity. The link between household income and child well-being is well established. As federal and state governments consider the importance of their investments, increasing the economic security of low-income families and expanding access to quality child care is a good place to start. American businesses provide just 1% of the skyrocketing cost of childcare.
High-quality child care is a priority and must be available and more affordable for every middle-class and low-income family with young children. Failing to support quality child care exacts a heavy cost on businesses, families and the economy.