By Lenice C. Emanuel, MLA Executive Director, Alabama Institute for Social Justice
On September 14, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act. This bill would make quality childcare affordable throughout the United States. Because the Murray-Scott Bill is of particular importance to the AISJ community, you will find highlights of the bill listed below.
The Child Care for Working Families Act will provide high-quality childcare for working families at affordable prices.
A primary goal of the bill is to make sure that working families who earn less than 150% of their state’s median income are not spending more than 7% on childcare costs. For example, as of 2016, Alabama’s median household income was $47,221. If the Murray-Scott Bill were in effect, the total cost of childcare for that family would have been $3,305.47. Compare that to the exorbitant rates in some states that sound more like college tuition rates — close to $10,000! This bill would allow families to pay on a sliding scale no matter how many children they have.
Affordable childcare means that more children will be ready for kindergarten and more parents can either continue or complete their education. Currently, due to the cost of childcare, many families have to choose between advancing their education to secure a better job, or paying for childcare.
This bill not only helps equip children and parents, it also allows childcare workers to make a living wage and improve their skills with additional training.
The bill increases the number of children who qualify for childcare assistance and guarantees that all who are eligible have access to a quality program.
The bill helps to improve childcare by addressing multiple challenges that working families face, including the need for care during non-traditional hours, relying on unlicensed care facilities, or having to ask for help from family, friends, and neighbors.
The bill makes a way to offer incentives and funding to states that offer high-quality care for younger children (infants and toddlers), who are often more challenging and expensive to care for.
The Alabama Institute for Social Justice proudly endorses the Child Care for Working Families Act because it will help our working families. This bill is critical because the lack of high-quality, affordable childcare makes it difficult for communities of color to advance. Having a sound foundation for children’s education sets them on the pathway to success. Supporting the early childhood workforce is a win for the economy as a whole.
To learn more about the Murray-Scott Bill, click here.
To learn more about AISJ, visit us online at www.ALisj.org.
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