Access to affordable, quality child care is essential in order to support today’s working mothers and families. Over the past few decades, the structure of middle-class families, as well as the workplace and our economy, have dramatically changed. Panelists at the Young Elected Officials Network Women’s Conference unpacked the hindrances to affordable, quality child care and what lawmakers can do to break down those barriers. Panelists at the “Supporting Working Mothers, Children and Families through Child Care” event included National Women’s Law Center Senior Coalition Manager Diali Avila, Urban Institute Senior Fellow Gina Adams, Michigan State Representative Sarah Anthony, and Moms Rising member Jessica Raven. These women highlighted the importance of workplace policies and accessible child care.
Child care is important for the well-being of children and the success of parents. Working parents are constantly faced with extremely high costs for child care. For many families, child care is difficult to attain due to nontraditional working hours, children with special needs, or because they live in rural areas. Jessica Raven, a mother and member of Moms Rising addressed the issue of housing affordability as it relates to affordable and accessible child care. She said, “We need to make housing more affordable for families so that they can pay for child care.” Raven explained that she paid more for child care each month than she did for her own rent in Washington, D.C.—the combination is astronomical.
The quality of child care is not where we need it to be. Avila noted, “When it comes to supporting elected officials, voters say that they are eight times more likely to have a favorable view of their elected official if they support policies and funding for quality early learning.” Voters understand the impact that lack of quality and affordability has on families and the economy, and there is broad bipartisan support for increasing federal investments to help states strengthen early-childhood education for low-and moderate-income families.
All families deserve access to safe and quality child care, where children can learn and play without parents having to worry. It is not just a women’s issue. We are doing a disservice if we don’t also support family-friendly workplace policies that advance gender equity and empower both men and women as caregivers and workers. The case has already been made. Now we must support local and national elected officials who will fight for child care access for all!
#YEOwomen: Supporting Working Mothers, Children and Families through Child Care
Posted by Young Elected Officials Network on Sunday, February 3, 2019