The Child Care and Early Learning Coalition received a bipartisan boost on January 19, when two former members of Congress representing both parties and ideologies came together to endorse a call for significant increase in child care funding by asking congressional appropriators to double funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) for children to age five. The letter by former Congressman George Miller (D-CA) and Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) comes on the heels of a December letter by the Child Care and Early Learning Coalition that called on Congress to increase funding for the CCDB Grant by $2.9 billion in the FY 2018 appropriations bill.

The letter, that CWLA signed onto, indicates that states need to implement the provisions in the 2014 bi-partisan reauthorization of CCDBG that bolster the quality and safety of child care and help families more easily access help in paying for child care. The new funds would 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.

The Miller-Santorum letter in their call for increases noted, “By doubling the amount of funding for children under five, we estimate that an additional 364,800 families will have access to higher quality child care. We recently teamed up to chair the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Early Childhood Initiative. In our report, A Bipartisan Case for Early Childhood Development, we discuss the cost of child care as a major challenge for working families. With 64 percent of mothers with preschool-aged children in the workforce, child care is not a luxury but rather a necessity and an expensive one at that. CCDBG is the largest direct source of federal support for families who need child care. However, it currently serves only 1.5 million of the 8.6 million children estimated by the Government Accountability Office to be eligible.”

The child care community is gearing up for a big push when final funding is set and when the next budget hits Washington.