Washington, DC – Today, Democratic Women's Caucus (DWC) Co-Chairs Congresswomen Lois Frankel (FL-21), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Jackie Speier (CA-14), and Vice Chairs Congresswomen Veronica Escobar (TX-16) and Sylvia Garcia (TX-29) endorsed the Child Care for Working Families Act, introduced by Congressman Robert “Bobby” Scott (VA-03).
The proposed legislation takes bold steps to create jobs and address the challenges families face finding quality, affordable, and accessible child care so parents can get back to work. The proposed bill will also help create more financial security for child care workers, the majority of whom are women and nearly 40 percent of whom are Black women and Latinas. Many child care workers are currently earning so little that they fall below the poverty line at twice the rate of women in other industries. One recent study found that expanding access to affordable, high-quality child care to everyone who needs it would increase the number of women with young children working full-time by 17 percent, and increase the lifetime earnings for women with two children by $94,000, which would lead to an increase of $20,000 in private savings and an additional $10,000 in Social Security benefits.
“The child care industry was hit hard by the pandemic. We have heard from so many providers who have had to lay off workers, reduce the number of available slots, or close completely,” the Members said. “This landmark legislation will create 700,000 new good-paying child care jobs and provide a safe place for working families to send their children. That will enable over 1 million parents, many of whom are women and women color, to return to the workforce and strengthen our economy as we continue to Build Back Better.”
The Child Care for Working Families Act would:
- Make child care more affordable for working families by creating a federal-state partnership to provide financial assistance for working families with children ages 0-13. Under the bill:
- No working family under 150 percent of state median income would pay more than seven percent of their income on child care.
- Families earning above 75 percent of state median income would pay their fair share for care on a sliding scale.
- Families under 75 percent of the state median income would not pay anything at all.
- Expand access to preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-olds, by providing funding to states to establish and expand a mixed-delivery system of high-quality preschool programs.
- Improve the quality and supply of child care for all children by:
- Supporting child care for children who are dual-language learners, children who are experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.
- Creating more inclusive, high-quality child care options for children, infants and toddlers with disabilities, and increasing funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
- Increasing child care options for children who receive care during non-traditional hours.
- Providing grants to cover start-up and licensing costs to help establish new providers.
- Increase wages for child care workers by ensuring that all child care workers are paid at least a living wage and earn parity with elementary school teachers with similar credentials and experience.
- Better support Head Start programs by providing the funding necessary to offer full-day, full-year programming.