The First Five Years Fund’s August Recess Toolkit provides sample graphics and social media posts, resources and suggestions for in-district events, talking points, and data that members can use to highlight their support for federal investments in early learning and child care.

State Fact Sheets

The First Five Years Fund has developed a series of state fact sheets to provide a high-level overview of the various early childhood education opportunities that exist within your boss’ state, including those made possible with federal funding. They also highlight the urgent and unmet need facing families when it comes to locating affordable, quality child care in every state. View information for your state here. 

Social Media and Graphics

Social media and graphics supporting federal investments in child care and early learning can be found here. 

Sample Talking Points: Economic and Other Arguments in Favor of Child Care Investments

Child care is too expensive and too hard to find. Parents, especially moms, are either taking on a huge financial burden or opting out of the workforce.

Child care costs more today than many families pay for rent, a mortgage, or even college tuition. In (Member State), child care costs the average family X per year. Find state-by-state child care costs here.

This problem is not new. Since 1990, child care costs have risen 214 percent – twice as fast as other family expenses like food and housing.

4 out of 10 parents have gone into debt due to the cost of child care, and 28% of parents say they’ve had to choose between paying for child care or paying their rent or mortgage on time.

But even for those who can afford it, finding quality care can be next to impossible.

Nearly half of families nationwide, including 60 percent of rural families, don’t have enough child care providers in their communities.

And child care professionals are being paid $13.50 an hour on average. 

To make matters worse, over 16,000 providers closed during 2020 and 2021.

Without action, child care providers will continue to struggle to retain workers and keep their programs open, denying families access to child care options they need to stay on the job.

According to analysis from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, states are missing out on billions of dollars each year in economic activity as a result of child care breakdowns. 

American families are losing tens of thousands of dollars each year because parents, unable to afford the high costs of child care, are forced to leave their jobs or reduce working hours to care for their children. 

Their absence in the labor force is costing states up to $35 billion in revenue loss.

State economies lose hundreds of millions of dollars in economic output each year due to child care breakdowns.

Suggested District Events to Highlight the Importance of Child Care 

There are many ways to connect with constituents, both virtually and in-person, to discuss the importance of child care and show support for children, families, and the economy. 

Meetings with Local Stakeholders 

  • Host a meetings with local stakeholders, such as child care providers, business owners, and community leaders to discuss the critical role of child care to the local economy
  • Host a neighborhood discussion or roundtable on how constituents have felt the impacts of the child care crisis (ex: how many days they’ve had to go without child care this year) how bipartisan federal relief has helped and what more needs to be done
  • Host telephone town halls for parents and caregivers to hear their concerns about how the breakdowns in the child care system have impacted them 
  • Speak with local business leaders about the challenges employers are facing because of child care shortages
  • Host roundtables with local child care providers and professionals to discuss their experiences and how the past few years has impacted their ability to serve the children and working families that depend on them 

Highlight First-Hand Knowledge 

  • Tour a child care, Head Start, or other early learning facility 
  • Call families participating in home-based child care to learn about their experiences 
  • Write an op-ed about the importance of quality, and how affordable child care plays a role for American families and our economic recovery

Helpful Stats for Member Events: Why Congress Must Invest in Child Care

A Strong Child Care System Bolsters the American Economy & Fights Inflation 

  • Ensuring access to affordable high-quality child care for every family will get parents back to work, boost our economy right now, and ensure children develop skills for success in school and life, benefitting our economy in the long term. 
  • recent study found that federal funding to lower child care costs and increase access would help mitigate the impact inflation is having on working families, while supporting economic growth in the short- and long-term.
  • Researchers found that investing in early learning and care would;
    • increase female labor force participation and raise the nation’s output and income;
    • have a significant impact on family budgets and well-being by reducing existing child care expenses; 
    • spur more economic activity by increasing female employment; and
    • positively impact children’s life trajectories.

A Strong Child Care System Benefits American Families and Communities

  • Nearly half of families across the country lack access to quality, affordable early learning and care. Federal investment in child care and preschool can help build a system of care for children from birth through age five thus ensuring children and families have the tools necessary regardless of whether that child is an infant or about to transition to kindergarten.
  • All children benefit from high-quality early learning opportunities. Children from low-income families are more likely to earn higher wages, live healthier lives, avoid incarceration, raise stronger families, and contribute to society if they attend quality child care and preschool programs. Additionally, early learning and care increases high school graduation rates by 14 percent.

Impending Child Care Cliff Spells Disaster for Families & Providers

  • Bipartisan relief funding for child care providers, which is buttressing an already-struggling child care market, runs out on September 30th, 2024.
  •  America’s child care system faces an estimated $48 billion funding cliff upon expiration of federal child care relief funding. See how much your state stands to lose here. 
  • Child care providers who have been able to offer pay raises or bonuses to recruit/retain teachers using this relief funding will have to start making some tough choices in the weeks leading up to this cliff, risking a mass exodus of highly-trained professionals leaving the field for better pay/benefits at places like Starbucks and Target. 
  • 92% of America’s child care providers who received this federal relief funding say these grants are what has kept their businesses open.
  • 75% of providers say that the end of stabilization grants will be devastating to their programs.
  • Even with the relief provided by the child care stabilization program, two-thirds of child care providers are experiencing a staffing shortage that affects their ability to serve families; 52% of those with staffing shortages have been forced to serve fewer children while 37% have had a longer waiting list.

Investing in Child Care and Preschool Creates Jobs in the Early Education Sector

  • More than 108,000, or 1 in 10 workers have left the child care sector since 2020, opting for higher-paying jobs in other industries. 
  • The average pay for child care workers, who often have degrees and specialized training, is around $12.24 per hour or $25,000 a year, putting them in the bottom 2% of all professions. With federal investment in the child care and preschool workforce, early educators would make a living wage or wages equivalent to elementary educators with equivalent credentials. 
  • More than a third of child care providers are considering quitting or closing down their businesses within the next year. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the proposals to make quality child care affordable and available to all families who need it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Investing in Child Care

How do high child care and preschool prices affect American families financially?

  • Half of parents in the U.S. report spending at least 25% of their income on child care. (source)
  • 40% of parents in the U.S. have gone into debt to pay for child care. (source)
  • More than 1 in 4 parents say they’ve had to choose between paying for child care or paying their rent or mortgage on time. (source)
  • 62% of families say their concerns about the cost of child care are only getting worse. (source)

Why is investing in child care and preschool critical to the American economy?

  • 26.8 million people—16% of the U.S. workforce—rely on child care in order to do their jobs. (source)
  • For every $1 in annual spending on high-quality pre-K, local property values will go up by $13.