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Democratic and Republican Leaders Have Advanced Early Learning and Care Nationally

News June 17, 2019

Elected leaders on both sides of the aisle agree: quality early learning and care must be a priority.

Access to affordable, reliable child care is critical for working families, offering parents better job stability and overall economic security. And just as importantly, high-quality care supports children’s healthy development. Investing in quality early learning, particularly for low-income families, creates upward mobility by ensuring all children have the opportunity to develop foundations for long-term success in school and life.

The good news is, lawmakers and voters on both sides of the aisle agree that more must be done to ensure working families have access to quality child care. According to FFYF’s 2018 national poll, conducted in the days immediately following the 2018 Midterm Elections, there is overwhelming bipartisan support for a number of proposals that will help more families access high-quality early learning and care opportunities.

Republicans, independents and Democrats all support proposals that will help more families access high-quality early learning and care opportunities:

Provide tax incentives to businesses which provide or help their employees afford quality early childhood education programs: 52% strongly support; 84% support

Increase federal funding to states to create or build on their own programs that directly help low-income children: 54% strongly support; 81% support

Increase the child care tax credit to help parents better afford quality child care and early education programs: 50% strongly support; 81% support

Provide greater funding to Head Start and Early Head Start: 58% strongly support; 80% support

Last week, President Donald Trump and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump met with bipartisan governors, as well as Cabinet members and other administration officials, to discuss critical workforce issues, including access to quality child care. During the meeting, governors from both parties and President Trump discussed how states and the federal government have worked together to bolster America’s workforce through programs like the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which received ahistoric funding increase in FY2018 ($2.37 billion over FY2017 levels) as part of a bipartisan budget deal negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, that the president signed into law.

President Trump: “We’ve made historic increases to child care block grants that go to states to help families access quality child care.”

Last month, the Center for American Progress released an issue brief detailing governors’ proposals for investing in early learning for their states. The brief provides state-by-state numbers on both Democratic and Republican governors’ state budget proposals for child care, preschool, home visiting programs, and more. In all, 32 governors proposed a total of $2.9 billion in increased funding for early learning programs – more than last year’s federal increase and enough to provide high-quality child care for approximately 145,000 toddlers for a year or home visiting services for approximately 445,000 families.

On Capitol Hill, a bipartisan majority of lawmakers called for appropriators to prioritize early childhood funding as part of the government spending bills this year. FFYF has compiled the various “Dear Colleague” letters from the past several months related to funding for early childhood education in FY2020 appropriations. This year there were 5 letters that garnered 269 signatures in the House and Senate calling for greater funding for specific programs, such as Preschool Development Grants, Head Start, Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), and Parts B & C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in FY2020 appropriations.

And elected officials at every level of government continue to speak out on the need for more investment in the are and education of America’s youngest learners.

Take a look at the following quotes from prominent members of Congress and Governors, from red and blue states alike, on the importance of investing in child care solutions for America’s working families:

  • “Child care is not only important to the developmental health of children, but also to the well-being of their parents. When parents know that their children have a place to go where they will be safe and where they will learn, then the parents have more opportunity to earn a living to support their family.” – Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
  • “We must do more to ensure that all children have access to affordable, high-quality child care that will help families make ends meet and prepare our young ones for their futures.” – Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
  • “I’m so proud of my bipartisan work to strengthen early learning and child care, and I will continue working to protect North Carolina’s working families in the United States Senate.” – Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)
  • “Every time we invest in our children’s education, it pays dividends for our nation’s prosperity and competitive standing in the world. High-quality early care and education can improve child outcomes, ease the burden on public resources, and increase future productivity and growth of a child.” – Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • “As the father of three daughters, I understand the importance of child care and educational programs designed to help Kentucky children and their families.” – Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
  • “Quality child care makes a major difference in the lives of young people in Maine and across the country, and we should be doing everything in our power to make it affordable and accessible for working families.” – Senator Angus King (I-ME)
  • “Study after study has shown that regular access to high-quality child care promotes literacy skills, cognitive development, and healthy behaviors. These are long-term benefits: quality early education produces better health, educational, and employment outcomes well into adulthood.” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
  • “Our children deserve safe, developmentally appropriate learning experiences and care, and I know that these essential early years are the most impactful. Compassionate child care offers a meaningful source of stability for today’s hardworking families, which is of great value in Washington State. Without a doubt, early learning helps shape a child’s development, which sets them on a path for future success.” – Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
  • “Too many working parents must choose between a steady paycheck and caring for their kids. That’s unacceptable. These new [child care] dollars will allow more parents to work while ensuring kids are safely and properly cared for. Helping families stay safe and strong is the right thing to do and will benefit our entire state.” – Governor Doug Ducey (R-AZ)
  • “Sadly, many parents are priced-out of high-quality preschool and child care. No child should be denied a good start just because of their family’s economic circumstances, and no parent should have to be faced with the burden of not being able to afford the very best for their kids.” – Governor Jared Polis (D-CO)
  • “North Dakota’s most valuable resource is our children, and their working parents are the foundation of our economy… available and quality child care is vital to children and their working parents, and has a direct impact on the economy of our state.” – Governor Doug Burgum (R-ND)
  • “We can no longer afford to view child care as a convenience, but an educational and economic necessity, especially for low-income families.” – Governor Ned Lamont (D-CT)

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