Not in several years has a President of United States placed such emphasis on child care in his State of the Union address. We applaud President Barack Obama’s call for greater support and expansion of early childhood education and child care, and feel it is an important strategy to help families across the income spectrum.

We can all agree with the President when he says, “I want our actions to tell every child, in every neighborhood:  your life matters, and we are as committed to improving your life chances as we are for our own kids.”

In recalling the sacrifices made in World War II, the President highlighted the fact that the nation recognized the vital importance of child care for all and reminded us that today, for other reasons, “when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever.  It’s not a nice-to-have—it’s a must-have.”

CWLA is pleased that the President announced an expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for middle-class families in his State of the Union address, and that he followed that up on Thursday with a plan that calls for expanded child care subsidies to address the tremendous shortfall in quality child care subsidies, particularly for infants and toddlers.

Child care has had a bipartisan history dating back several decades. We hope that Congress and others can put aside political differences to highlight this important issue. The greater focus this nation can provide on the earliest years of childhood will be vastly important, not just for the prevention of child abuse, but for strengthening families across the country—and through 21st century.