Working families need access to high-quality, affordable child care that meets their children’s developmental needs; however the high-cost of quality child care creates an insurmountable barrier for many families. While the federal government provides support to families to help defray the cost of care, both through the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), these supports are not enough to meet the needs of all the families they are designed to serve. Fewer than 1-in-4 eligible children under five years of age benefit from CCDBG. And the non-refundable CDCTC provides no benefit to the families that most need help, and minimal support to middle-income families who still struggle to pay for quality care.
There is also a workforce problem. To provide the quality of care that children and their parents deserve, a well-trained and well-paid caregiver workforce is essential. But child care workers are paid less than parking lot attendants in 30 states. This is unacceptable.
CDF is committed to working with our partners to ensure that all children have access to affordable, high-quality child care that supports their early development and their parents’ abilities to work. Urging Congress to pass The Child Care for Working Families Act (S.1806 and H.R.3773) is one way to help ensure that caregivers are paid a living wage and every family who needs it can afford high-quality care for their children. Introduced by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Bobby Scott on September 14, 2017, this act recognizes that children need a continuum of support in the earliest years of their lives and, in addition to child care subsidies, supports universal access to preschool, Early Head Start and Head Start for the poorest children.