May 17, 2007
Six years is a long time to wait, especially when the care of our kids is at stake. For the past six years, the Bush administration and the Republican-led Congress has consistently frozen federal funding for child care services despite yearly increases in the number of families needing these services. The results have been disastrous, according to a report by the National Women’s Law Center (PDF). Inadequate funding has resulted in reduced child care availability and dramatic cost increases for low-income families. In addition, child care providers are sometimes forced to refuse care for children receiving subsidies because they cannot afford to accept the low reimbursement rates. This limits the child care choices for parents or even cuts off access to good care completely. Those providers who do accept the lower, subsidized rates are faced with cutting corners. They may pay lower salaries and offer leaner benefits to their staff, thus precluding the child care providers from attracting and retaining highly qualified employees. AFSCME, with our child care affiliates, is the union for tens of thousands of child care providers across the country. We are demanding that Congress increase child care funding. Specifically, we are asking for a $720 million increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). This is not an issue just for child care providers. It’s for all of us who believe in fair wages for workers and quality care for kids. Everyone can take part in our campaign at: http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/fund_child_care This additional funding will make up for ground that was lost due to inadequate funding in recent years, and will provide child care help to at least a portion of the 150,000 children who have lost assistance since 2000. It's the least we can do for our kids.