The Stand

Murray’s new child care bill: ‘Right thing, smart investment’

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The following is from the Office of Senator Patty Murray (D-WA):

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 15, 2017) — Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate education committee, on Thursday introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act, a comprehensive early learning and child care bill to ensure affordable, high-quality child care for working families across the country. The bill builds on Sen. Murray’s work to expand access to child care for families who need it and strengthen economic security for working families in Washington state and across the country.

“At a time when far too many working families are struggling, finding quality child care that doesn’t break the bank shouldn’t be another thing keeping parents up at night,” Murray said. “As a former preschool teacher, I know what quality early learning and care can do for a child’s development, so I’m proud to introduce the Child Care for Working Families Act to address our child care crisis and support access to high-quality preschool so that all children are ready for kindergarten and beyond. This is not only the right to thing to for working families, but it’s a smart investment in our children, our future, and our economy.”

The Child Care for Working Families Act would create a federal-state partnership to ensure families making less than 150 percent of their state’s median income do not pay more than seven percent of their income on child care. The bill also supports access to high-quality preschool programs for low- and moderate-income 3- and 4-year olds, and strengthens support for our nation’s child care workforce by significantly improving wages and training for teachers and caregivers. Additionally, the bill would:

Establish a new federal-state partnership based on Medicaid to provide high-quality, affordable child care from birth through age 13;

► More than double the universe of children eligible for child care assistance, and increase the number of children who could receive such assistance by more than 13 times the current amount;

► Provide incentives and funding for states to create high-quality preschool programs for low- and moderate-income 3- and 4-year olds during the school day, while providing a higher matching rate for programs for infants and toddlers, who are often harder and more expensive to care for;

► Increase workforce training and compensation, including by ensuring that all child care workers are paid a living wage and early childhood educators are provided parity with elementary school teachers with similar credentials and experience;

► Improve care in a variety of settings, including addressing the needs of family, friend, and neighbor care and care during non-traditional hours to help meet the needs of working families;

► Build more inclusive, high-quality child care providers for children with disabilities, and infants and toddlers with disabilities, including by increased funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; and

► Help all Head Start programs meet the new expanded duration requirements and provide full-day, full-year programming.

Text of the Child Care for Working Families Act can be found here.

Fact sheet on the Child Care for Working Families Act can be found here.

More than 100 organizations have endorsed the Child Care for Working Families Act.

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