Today, Jennifer Klein, Assistant to the President and Director of the Gender Policy Council and Zayn Siddique, Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Mobility, convened state legislators working to improve child care access and affordability across the country.
High-quality, affordable child care is critical to supporting working families, cutting costs, and driving economic growth. The vast majority of families, however, cannot access the high-quality child care they need. In 2019, more than three in four households reported difficulty finding adequate care for their young children, and the same share of center-based child care providers turned families away because they lacked enough child care slots. Despite this demand and the critical importance of the services they provide, child care workers-who are disproportionately women and women of color-are among the lowest-paid in the country and are often without employer-provided benefits.
Even when families can find child care, it is too often unaffordable. Child care expenditures represent a significant, and increasing, share of families' budgets, with child care prices growing by 26 percent over the last decade. According to analysis from the Department of Labor Women's Bureau, median child care prices ranged from $5,357 to $17,171 in 2022 dollars, which is between 8% to 19.3% of median family income.
President Biden knows how critical child care is for families' economic security and for the country's economic prosperity. That's why his budget for this fiscal year includes an investment of $600 billion in early care and education that would fund states to provide universal preschool for four-year-olds and subsidize high-quality child care from birth to age five for families earning up to $200,000. The lowest income families would pay nothing out-of-pocket and most families would pay no more than $10 a day per child. Most American families would save more than half on their child care expenses while accessing higher-quality, more reliable care. The Administration also recently announced the Department of Commerce will require some grant recipients of CHIPS and Science Act funding to ensure access to affordable, reliable, high-quality child care for their workers with young children.
States are taking important action to tackle child care access and affordability, including by increasing supply, shoring up the workforce, and expanding eligibility for child care assistance. Many of these efforts are supported through investments secured by President Biden as a part of the American Rescue Plan. For example, states are using these funds to implement payment rate increases for child care providers to stabilize their program operations and help increase supply. States are also investing in their workforce through bonuses, loan repayment, and scholarships. And states are reducing or planning to reduce copayments for working families that receive child care assistance.
White House officials thanked the legislators for their leadership and affirmed the Administration's support and partnership in expanding child care access and affordability at the state level.
Participating state legislative leaders included:
- Maine Senate President Troy Jackson
- Kansas Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes
- Illinois State Senator Mike Simmons
- Indiana State Senator Fady Qaddoura
- Maryland State Delegate Jared Solomon
- Michigan State Representative Stephanie Young
- Minnesota State Representative Dave Pinto
- New Hampshire State Senator Rebecca Whitley
- New York State Senator Jabari Brisport
- New York State Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi
- North Dakota State Senator Ryan Braunberger
- South Dakota State Representative Erin Healy
- South Dakota State Senator Liz Larson
- Virginia State Delegate Briana Sewell
- Virginia State Delegate Karrie Delaney
- Washington State Representative Kristine Reeves
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