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2023 Early Childhood Care and Education Legislative Agenda

Diverse group of children sitting in front of teacher smiling

Background

Voices empowers children, youth, and families disproportionately impacted by inequitable outcomes as agents in the creation of policy solutions to ignite change in their communities. Through our direct engagement with youth advocates and hearing from the professionals serving families, Voices embraces a variety of perspectives to create trauma-informed and healing centered spaces for advocates to share their stories and reconcile trauma through systems change.

For far too long, policies in our country and Commonwealth have perpetuated racism interpersonally, institutionally, and systemically, known as structural racism. The impact of historical racism and trauma show up in disparities in access and outcomes, including income and wealth, educational opportunities, and health. Our young people today still face the impact of historical racism within the systems they encounter and the communities they live. To ensure all children in Virginia have the opportunity to thrive despite race, geography or income, we must focus on the root causes that have produced inequitable distribution of resources, eliminate barriers to fair and equal participation and dismantle social and institutional biases.


Early Childhood Care and Education

Promoting accessible and affordable early education and child care helps families work and helps children learn.

Parents have to pay too much for child care and early childhood professionals earn too little. To solve this dilemma, we need more public investment in a mixed-delivery system of early education and preschool that must include home-based providers, private child care centers, and public schools. We must also measurably improve compensation for early childhood professionals and provide more support for families needing infant and toddler care. Families need access to a variety of child care options to meet their needs — providing financial assistance to families, investing in early care professionals, and building a strong mixed-delivery system gives parents these choices.

Early Childhood Care and Education Priorities

  1. Stabilize the child care sector with adequate funding to increase to mixed-delivery grants to public/private early education settings and increase parent choice through the child care subsidy program.
  2. Making the COVID-era changes to eligibility for the child care subsidy program permanent, including higher income eligibility, allowing for eligibility during job search and reducing/eliminating parent co-pays.
  3. Improve access for young children with special educational and health care needs to access a wide range of fully resourced child care options.

Voices is a member of the Virginia Promise Partnership.

For more information, contact Emily Griffey.