What Families of Young Children Need to Know
Families of young children often struggle not only to pay for early learning and care, but also to access high quality care for their children. Those struggles are often amplified for families living in poverty, rural areas, and for families with working parents. What do families of young children need to know about early learning and care under the Biden presidency?
The crisis caused by a worldwide pandemic in 2020 has revealed extensive problems related to childcare in the U.S.. Families had already struggled to pay the high prices of child care and to find quality care for their children before the worldwide pandemic. The cost of childcare has increased over 25% over the last decade, forcing many (especially women) to choose between paying for childcare and leaving the workforce altogether. Now, they are finding it even more difficult to pay for and to access high quality care and education for young children. Some experts believe that over half of early learning and care centers will close by the time the pandemic is over due to decreased enrollment and increased cost.
During his 2020 Presidential campaign, Joe Biden revealed plans to support working parents with young children, not only now, during a worldwide pandemic, but also to strengthen the foundation of education for young American children for generations to come. Here are some highlights of how the Biden presidency will support early learning and care:
Access to High Quality Early Learning and Care under the Biden Presidency
High quality preschool gives children a strong foundation that leads to academic success in later years and positive effects on children’s early literacy and mathematics skills. Research shows that all children benefit from early childhood education, with low-income and English learners benefiting the most. Other benefits include better professional outcomes, improved health among students and breaking cyclical poverty (Andrew Barr, Chloe Gibbs). Under the Biden presidency, families of young children could have better access to high quality early learning and care with these proposals:
- Provide all 3- and 4-year-olds with access to high-quality preschool. Biden will work with states to provide a mixed delivery system that includes public school systems, child care centers, family child care providers, and Head Start
- Create a new child care construction tax credit to encourage businesses to build child care facilities at places of work so that families never have to search in vain for a suitable child care option
Paying for Early Learning and Care under the Biden Presidency
To support the financial impact of early learning and care under the Biden presidency, the following are proposed:
- The Child Care for Working Families Act, supported by Biden, would ensure:
- No family under 150% of state median income pays more than 7% of their income on child care
- Families would pay their fair share for care on a sliding scale, regardless of the number of children they have. Families could choose this option over the tax credit option (listed below)
- No payment at all for families earning less than 75% of the state median income
- Families may receive tax credits of $8000 per child (and $16,000 for two or more children) for low- and middle-income families to pay for child care. The tax credit would be refundable, meaning that families who don’t owe a lot in taxes will still benefit
Support for Working Families under the Biden Presidency
Parents and families need somewhere safe for their children to learn and play so they can participate in the economy. While the United States provided some American workers with parental leave in the spring of 2020 with the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, experts say many families were left out of that benefit. Continued closures of schools and daycare centers have increased families’ needs and reduced their ability to work. The following are proposals for early learning and care under the Biden presidency to assist working families with young children:
- Early Head Start is an option for families that will benefit from comprehensive family support and child development resources
- Expand after-school, weekend and summer child care by providing incentives for providers to fill critical child care shortages
- Increase support for child care and other “wraparound” services at community colleges to help parents seeking to improve their skills
What you can do:
Here are three ways you can help make early learning and care for young children a top priority:
- Download the Education 2020 Policy Briefing Book to prepare for conversations with your legislators.
- Find and contact the 2020 elected officials (both local and state) to develop comprehensive education policies and budgets for our nation’s future.
- Share your stories related to education priorities on social media using #ED2020 and #prek.club