TITLE: We Must Solve Child Care to Build Back Better
With the end of the pandemic in sight, families and child care providers, still recovering from the near-collapse of the entire child care market, are encouraged by the much-deserved attention being given to the essential role that child care and early learning play for families, educators, and our economy. The question is, will the attention come with a meaningful investment to address the root causes of America’s child care crisis.
As a [ROLE (e.g., parent of young children, working parent, child care provider, social worker, advocate, etc.)], I [saw/experienced] firsthand how COVID-19 exacerbated our community’s child care challenges. The pandemic pushed an already unstable industry to the brink, forcing widespread closures to early learning facilities all across the country – some of which had been around for decades. [SENTENCE ON A CHALLENGE THAT YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW FACED]
I am grateful for the American Rescue Plan and other crucial relief measures from the past year that provided emergency relief to prevent the child care industry from collapsing entirely. However, we must also recognize that our country’s child care market was fragile before the pandemic, with challenges in both supply and demand. Relief funding that only intends to keep providers afloat and ensure essential workers could access child care during the pandemic will not be able to address the existential flaws of America’s child care market.
Prior to the pandemic, families across the country were struggling to find and afford the care options they need to participate in the workforce. Half of Americans lived in areas where the supply of licensed child care is scarce, and the average cost of child care was over $10,000 a year. We all know coworkers who have had to leave work early or put their careers on pause to take care of their young children. Over coffee, lunch, or drinks, we’ve had conversations about how difficult or expensive it is to find safe and reliable care.
[INSERT DETAILS ON CHALLENGE THAT YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW FACED PRE-PANDEMIC]
This is all taking place as hardworking providers who are caring for our nation’s next generation are struggling to make ends meet. The cost of providing care and education to young children is considerably higher than providing K-12 education. Yet child care providers can only charge what families in their area can afford, which often translates into near-poverty wages for early educators and ultimately an untenable business model for the child care sector as a whole.
It is time that we, as a nation, confront and commit to resolving the child care challenges hindering many families’ economic security, our children’s long-term success, and the continued prosperity of America’s economy. Making a substantial and sustained investment in America’s child care and early learning system by approving the funding included in the American Families Plan will be a big step in the right direction. As Congress nears the upcoming August recess, members should do everything in their power to pass a significant, sustained investment in child care and preschool, and end America’s child care crisis once and for all.
Sample Letter to the Editor
To the editor:
As a family child care provider, I [saw/experienced] firsthand how COVID-19 exacerbated our community’s child care challenges. The pandemic pushed an already unstable industry to the brink, leaving many families without access to affordable and high-quality child care, and providers taking on greater risks.
This past year, our economy has been deeply impacted by the ability for parents to work. Incredibly, family child care programs largely remained open, allowing other essential works such as doctors, nurses, first responders and grocery store workers to work. However, this has come at a great financial cost to a workforce that already receives no sick pay, medical leave, health insurance or retirement benefits.
From 2005 to 2017, the number of licensed family child care homes fell by 52%. It’s a profession that takes a lot of skill, expertise and funding. Right now, we need support to remain open. And before it is too late, we truly need Congress to take further action and make a significant and sustained investment in child care. We need a whole better way, one that we build together.
I’m asking [ELECTED OFFICIAL NAME] as a member of [COMMITTEE] to prioritize child care – in all settings – and solve America’s child care crisis once and for all.