On Thursday, April 22, 2021, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, re-introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act. The legislation, which CWLA has endorsed, would create a comprehensive child care system to ensure that working families can find and afford high-quality child care. Some of the other key cosponsors included Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HA), Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-Mariana Islands).
One of CWLA’s “Hot Topics” for the May 12, “Virtual Hill Day,” is enacting the Child Care for Working Families Act. The Biden American Families Plan is expected to mirror much of this legislation. Critical parts of the legislation include:
- Capping costs for working families.
- Improving the quality and supply of child care for all children.
- Expanding access to high-quality preschool programs.
- Supporting higher wages for child care workers.
As part of these four broad goals, families earning above 75 percent of the state median income would pay on a sliding scale, and families earning below 75 percent of the state median income will not have to pay anything at all. It would improve the quality of care supporting child care for children who are dual-language learners, children who are experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care, creating more inclusive, high-quality child care options for children, infants, and toddlers with disabilities and increasing funding for Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The FY 2022 Biden budget includes a historic increase in funding for IDEA part C.
As part of the child care strategy, the proposal expands both pre-k funding and strengthens Head Start. States would receive funding to establish and expand a mixed-delivery system of high-quality preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families with Head Start receiving increased funding. As part of a strategy to strengthen child care, the legislation recognizes the need to support the child care workforce. Child care workers would be paid a living wage and achieve parity with elementary school teachers with similar credentials and experience.