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Washington, D.C. – Democratic representatives Danny K. Davis of Illinois, Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon, Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, Stacey E. Plaskett of Virginia and Steven Horsford of Nevada introduced the Building Child Care for a Better Future Act Oct. 3 to dramatically increase guaranteed child care funding that will address child care needs and create grants to enhance child care workforce, supply, quality and access.

The long-term solutions in this bill complement the Democratic Child Care Stabilization Act that addresses the immediate child care cliff created by Republican inaction so that no cliff occurs in the future, according to the group.

“High-quality, affordable child care is essential to the economic well-being of families, businesses and our country,” Davis said.  “The Building Child Care for a Better Future Act would provide $10 billion in guaranteed grants to states, tribes, and territories to make child care affordable.  Further, the bill would create $5 billion in new grants to improve child care workforce, supply, quality, and access in communities experiencing child care shortages. It is critical that Congress acts now to help working families by stabilizing our nation’s child care system.”

Currently, child care places a major financial burden on American families. The price of child care can range from $5,357 to $17,171 per year depending on location and type of care.  The cost of center-based care for two children is more than the average mortgage in 41 states and more than the average annual rent in all 50 states plus D.C.  Households under the poverty line spend nearly one third of their income on child care and increases in median child care prices are connected to lower maternal employment rates.

“The child care crisis in America isn’t new. Families – especially families with low income and in poverty and families of color – have long struggled to find high-quality, affordable care,” said Miriam Calderón, chief policy officer at ZERO TO THREE. “The child care system is facing a steep loss of public funding that will further harm babies, families, and early educators. The Building Child Care for a Better Future Act recognizes the important role stable federal investments play in building a stronger supply of high-quality care and provides much needed resources to strengthen our child care system.

Further, the child care crisis negatively impacts families of color disproportionately.  For a single parent who has never been married who is Black, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander or American Indian/Alaska Native, child care can cost 36%, 41%, or 49% of the median income, respectively, compared to only 31% for single White parents. 

“At a time when the United States is teetering on the edge of a severe child care crisis, the Building Child Care for a Better Future Act invests in this critical sector, providing funding to help states continue to strengthen their child care programs, retain high-quality educators, and expand access and affordability to families,” said Whitney Pesek, director of Federal Child Care Policy at The National Women’s Law Center. 

The act would address the child care needs of families and long-term stability of the child care system.  Specifically, the bill:

• Helps working families with their child care needs by expanding guaranteed child care funding by increasing the Child Care Entitlement to States to $10 billion per year, almost tripling this funding from the current $3.55 billion per year. Further, the bill increases funding for tribes, tribal organizations, and territories. The bill builds on the Democrats’ permanent increase in guaranteed child care funding to states in 2021, which also provided the first-ever guaranteed funding allotments for the U.S. territories in the Child Care Entitlement to States.

• Creates new grants to improve child care workforce, supply, quality, and access in communities experiencing child care shortages. Funds could be used for any purpose under the Child Care Development Block Grant to address local needs, including: 

  1. increasing child care slots.
  2. supporting workforce training and expansion.
  3. expanding operations of community or neighborhood-based family child care networks.
  4. recruiting providers and staff.

“As part of the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021, we expanded the Child Care Entitlement to States program to include U.S. territories like my district for the first time,” said Rep. Plaskett.  “In this bill, we are significantly increasing this investment in child care for American families living in U.S. territories and enhancing our commitment to equity.  I am proud to see this legislation put forward to respond to the needs of all families struggling for child care right now, and to the importance of having child care available, accessible, and affordable. Overall, this is an unprecedented investment in child care everywhere in the United States.”

The act has been championed by Sen. Ron Wyden and supported by multiple organizations, including:  American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees known as AFSCME; American Federation of Teachers; Center for Law and Social Policy; Child Care Aware of America; Child Welfare League of America; Family Forward Oregon; First Five Years Fund; First Focus Campaign for Children; Home Grown; National Association for the Education of Young Children; National Association for Family Child Care; National Education Association; National Women’s Law Center; Prevent Child Abuse America; Save the Children; SEIU; and ZERO TO THREE.

“Child care is the work that makes all other work possible, and just like roads and bridges it is a part of our nation’s essential infrastructure,” said Candice Vickers, executive director of Family Forward Oregon. “Every family deserves access to high quality, affordable, and culturally relevant child care, and every child care provider should be paid a wage that reflects the essential work they do. The Building Child Care for a Better Future Act moves us toward this vision and is the type of bold action that parents and child care providers are calling on Congress to take.”

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