Ask For What You Want
Infused with hope generated by the assembly of early care and education advocates from the national, state, and local levels convened recently by the National Women’s Law Center, I have two messages, both calls for action. I’ll give you the first one now and the second one in my next blog.
Tell your Congressmen (they’re all men in Maryland) to double the funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. My colleague Clinton Macsherry is fond of quoting Madonna: “A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want. So please ask for what you want!”
In December, two representatives laid out a list of priorities which included doubling the discretionary funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. This would mean an increase of $2.9 billion. For information about how the CCDBG increase would change Maryland’s allotment, see an excellent article from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).
The Child Care and Development Block Grant was the only program to be specifically named with a specific dollar amount ask. Lawmakers are listening, and there is increased awareness that lack of access to affordable, high-quality child care is a critical problem for families across America. Many members have prioritized early learning in their requests to appropriation Committee members and child care has stood out. There also has been a great deal of discussion about child care since 2016 when both Presidential candidates lifted the issue up. And we know well, it has not yet been addressed. Here’s some language for a letter, email, or a phone call. Visit USA.gov if you need help finding your legislator’s contact information.
January XX, 2018
I urge you to increase funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant by $2.9 billion in the FY 2018 appropriations bill as proposed by the Democratic leadership. This substantial investment in access to high-quality child care will help parents work, boost the well-being of children, and make our economy stronger.
Both families and providers in Maryland are struggling. Eligibility requirements are low, and the state is unable to pay providers federally recommended rates.
This increase will ensure that states have the resources they need to implement the provisions in the 2014 bi-partisan reauthorization of CCDBG that will bolster the quality and safety of child care and help families more easily access help in paying for child care. The new funds will also allow nearly 230,000 additional children to receive child care assistance giving low- income parents financial help to afford high-quality child care so they can succeed at work; help to fund salaries needed to attract and retain well-qualified child care professionals; and give children the early learning experiences they need to succeed in school and in life and to become productive members of the future workforce.
I look forward to working with you to make this investment that would benefit our children, our families, and our country.