After it became apparent that the 2017-18 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania budget would shortchange the state’s children, AFSCME members mobilized and took sustained action to restore child care funding.
Their months of hard work paid off. The budget that state lawmakers adopted in late July contains $48 million in child care funding.
Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives deleted $28 million in carryover child care funding and ignored Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed increase of $35 million more for Pennsylvania’s children.
Those cuts, if implemented, would’ve severely limited the ability of professional child care providers – represented by the Pennsylvania Child Care Providers Union (CCPU-PA) – to provide high-quality early childhood education.
CCPU-PA members mobilized and lobbied the state legislature, holding a rally at the State House, calling and sending letters to elected officials, urging them to consider the consequences of underfunding child care.
“Our children are our future,” said Latonta Godboldt, a CCPU-PA member. “Cutting the funding in an already-strapped environment would have been devastating for every Pennsylvania child. We don’t go to work every day to get rich. We do what we do because we will never quit fighting for a level playing field for all Pennsylvania’s children. We fought back and won. Funding was restored.”
The final budget restored the $28 million in funding and contained $20 million of Wolf’s proposed funding increase. This represented an important victory for CCPU-PA members and the children they serve.
“We won, but that doesn’t mean we walk away,” Godboldt said. “We will be vigilant in protecting Pennsylvania children’s freedom to access high quality, professional child care.”