Dear Editor: I have owned Corrine’s Little Explorers Family Child Care since 2007. I quit my job in retail management to use my degree in early childhood education because I had three pregnant friends who had not found care in our rural community. I am sharing this because the child care crisis isn’t new.
In Wisconsin, we lost 70% of family child care programs and 10% of group centers between 2010 and 2019. Child care wages are at the bottom 2% of all jobs. Parents are already paying more than their mortgages or rent for child care. As a nation we spend less than .05% on early care and education, of which the vast majority goes for public 4-K and subsidies for working parents.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation is better understanding this is a crisis, and there has been historic investments in child care to help with the losses our industry is grappling with. However, we now need to invest in creating and fully funding a system that truly supports the dual purpose child care provides. First, it is early care and education and lays the foundation for all future learning and the future ingenuity and ability of our future employees and entrepreneurs. Secondly, it supports the workforce and their employers now by allowing parents to work. Furthermore, we are the only developed country without nationwide parental leave, and many in the workforce have no paid leave.
These and other reasons are why I support the American Families Plan: It puts working people, children, and families first and is paid for by raising taxes so everyone pays their fair share.
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