“Just like our roads and bridges, just like our airports and railroads, child care is essential to a healthy, inclusive economy.”
Massachusetts lawmakers joined advocates for early childhood education and child care workers on Tuesday to press for federal child care relief legislation.
One in four parents reports being fired from their jobs due to a lack of consistent and affordable child care, costing the nation about $122 billion annually in lost wages and tax revenue.
Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass, the House Democratic Whip, said child care is infrastructure.
“Just like our roads and bridges, just like our airports and railroads, child care is essential to a healthy, inclusive economy,” Clark contended.
Democrats are urging passage of the Child Care for Working Families Act, but it has no Republican co-sponsors. Despite a 30% boost to federal child care funding last year, advocates say the industry is still reeling from the economic effects of COVID-19, with day care facilities down about 50,000 workers from pre-pandemic levels.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass, said child care workers deserve a living wage, with strong benefits and a paid family-leave policy codified into federal law.
“This is as much about our GDP as it is our families,” Pressley argued.
Pressley added the voices of early childhood educators and day care providers belong in Washington, where policy decisions are made. Her guest for the State of the Union address Tuesday was child care worker Jacueline Sanches of Mattapan, who said she has struggled to find adequate care for her own children as well.
Kathryn Carley began her career in community radio, and is happy to be back, covering the New England region for Public News Service. Getting her start at KFAI in Minneapolis, Carley graduated from the University of Minnesota and then worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, focusing on energy and agriculture. Moving to Washington, D.C., she filed stories for The Pacifica Network News and The Pacifica Report. Later Carley worked as News Host for New York Public Radio, WNYC as well as Co-Anchor for Newsweek’s long running radio program, Newsweek on Air. Carley also served as News Anchor for New York Times Radio. She now lives near Boston, MA.