The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), and the Century Foundation recently released a fact sheet, “Child Care and Early Learning Proposal Could Serve 8.27 Million More Young Children- an 11-fold Increase,” that highlights state data on how a 10-year federal investment of $450 billion would significantly increase the number of young children served by high-quality child care and preschool programs in all states.
Currently, less than half of low-income families have access to high-quality early education programs. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated difficulties in an already broken system. Parents are unable to find and afford spaces in high-quality child care programs, the early educator workforce — almost entirely made up of women with a significant portion being women of color — have put their health on the line to continue serving children on poverty-level wages, and providers are stretched thin without sufficient resources to provide high-quality programming to those who need it. This is an issue that not only affects children and their families, but the economy at large as approximately 7.6 million Americans report the reason for unemployment is caring for children not in child care or school.
All families, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, deserve the opportunity for their young children to learn and President Biden’s Build Back Better plan includes key provisions to address issues of accessibility and quality within the early learning space. These increased investments in child care, that are reflected in the Congressional budget, are critical to rebuild a child care system that can best serve children, families, educators, and the economy. The proposal’s chief sponsor in the Senate, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), adds that “This report adds to the growing evidence that creating a child care system will make a huge difference in the lives of families across the country.”
Following full implementation, this investment would benefit 8.27 million infants, toddlers, and preschoolers across the United States. Eleven times more young children will be served than without the expansion. It is also estimated to increase labor force participation among parents, and particularly women, by up to 20%. While this investment would allow all states to serve thousands more infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, some states in particular would make tremendous gains. To find more information and see data on the estimated number of children served in each state, check out this fact sheet.