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Building a Well-Funded and Diverse Child Care and Development System

WHEREAS:

           Child care is a necessity for parents to work and support their children and/or go to school to get the skills they need to improve their economic circumstances.  High quality child care is important to promote children’s healthy growth and development, including preparing children to enter school ready to learn. Safe, reliable and high quality child care supports and strengthens our nation’s economy by allowing parents to work and children to learn; and

WHEREAS:

           The high cost of child care in most communities requires a huge amount of a family’s budget. The Department of Health and Human Services considers spending 10 percent of family income on child care to be the benchmark of what is affordable. Actual costs exceed this threshold for most families. For single parents, the average cost is more than 30 percent of median income. For couples, the cost of day care center care for an infant is more than 10 percent of median income in 38 states and the District of Columbia. The cost of family-based care is more than 10 percent of their median income in 12 states; and

WHEREAS:

           Irregular and nonstandard schedules are the new normal for low-wage workers, making it very difficult to find and schedule reliable care.  They scramble to secure child care and often lose their jobs if they miss work as a result.  Then they lose their child care subsidy assistance; and

WHEREAS:

           Despite significant increases in the need for child care assistance for low-income, working families, federal government support is diminishing. Total child care spending in 2012, including federal and state Child Care and Development Block Grant and TANF funds, dropped to its lowest level in ten years.  Because of this decrease, 263,000 fewer children received assistance in 2012 than in 2006; and

WHEREAS:

           In early 2013, only three states had reimbursement rates at the federally recommended level for providers who serve families receiving child care assistance; and

WHEREAS:

           Child care centers are most likely to operate during regular weekday business hours and typically are unable to accommodate last-minute scheduling changes or variable hours of care, as opposed to family child care providers who have more flexible hours; and

WHEREAS:

           The number of family child care providers receiving CCDBG subsidies to care for children has fallen 42 percent between 2005 and 2012, which is a far greater decrease than for child care centers, whose numbers decreased less than 1 percent in the same time period; and

WHEREAS:

           Federal child care dollars will be further stretched once new requirements, pending in draft regulations and federal legislation, begin.  To meet these requirements without increased funding, states could be forced to re-direct funds that currently provide subsidies for poor children; and

WHEREAS:

           These troubling trends are further exacerbated by an environment that ignores the economic reality of child care providers who are doing more for less. It is essential to preserve access while making improvements in child care, or many families may have to turn to lower-quality care because it is all they can afford.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

           AFSCME vigorously supports and will advocate for funding and policy proposals that build a diverse system of child care delivery that values participation of family child care providers and other types of providers who can meet the needs of all families, including those with nontraditional hours; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

           That AFSCME, with our allies, will lobby for adequate funding so that implementation of new regulations or new laws that add additional requirements for child care providers receiving Child Care and Development Block Grant funds will not become the financial responsibility of child care providers or families. In order to maintain the current numbers of children served and prepare for new requirements, funding must increase commensurate with the costs of new requirements; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:

            AFSCME will pursue organizing, educational, and advocacy opportunities that elevate the working conditions of child care providers and will continue to inform policymaking.

SUBMITTED BY:
Judy Wahlberg, President and Delegate
Mary Falk, Secretary and Delegate
AFSCME Council 5
Minnesota

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