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Voices’ Blog

Support Child Care in the Fairfax County Budget – Take Action Now!

Posted:  -  By: Chloe Edwards

Written by Mary Beth Salomone Testa, NOVA Consultant

This an extraordinarily difficult time for our community. Our partners and friends in early childhood programs are navigating huge challenges along with the families counting on them. We are worried about children and families and each other.

The information is flying around and lots of decisions are being made: Congress made an investment in child care and Virginia is putting it into action. The General Assembly came together again today to make new budget decisions. And the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has to rethink the whole county budget and the local approach to protecting and persevering.

There is a role at every level, and so we are taking action next week in Fairfax County.

Child care is crucial to the Fairfax County economy – and across the Commonwealth! We have to have child care programs, and we have to have people working in child care – in centers and family child care homes. The actions and investments we are asking our leaders to take are about right now during the emergency, and also about the recovery and rebuilding. Fairfax County has a history of stepping up for families to access early care and education so that parents can work and children can thrive in healthy learning environments, and a history of investing in and supporting the child care workforce. We must not lose sight of that work. The One Fairfax initiative and the county’s equitable school readiness strategic plan still matter. Opening the Early Childhood Fund is an important start to forwarding the necessary investments for right now and for the recovery. This is an urgent priority for the health of the county overall.

Voices for Virginia’s Children is lifting up three particular items in the County Manager’s revised proposal [Letter from Voices to the Fairfax Board of Supervisors]: the Birth to Five Early Childhood Fund, the 2022 bond, and the work of county staff. We are also urging the county to use federal, state and local dollars for essential child care workforce compensation and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Let’s take action together

Even though we cannot safely gather in-person, the Board of Supervisors is holding public hearings. The hearings are April 28 starting at 4:00, April 29 starting at 3:00, and April 30 starting at 3:00. The county is  offering three ways for us to participate and urge support in the county budget for child care now and in the future.

Please consider which option might work best for you at this time:

Option 1: Send a letter in an email

Share your testimony in the format of a letter by emailing ClerktotheBOS@fairfaxcounty.gov to reach all members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Please send your letter before April 30. Here is a template letter you can download and edit to include your own experiences. [Sample letter from programs and organizations]

Option 2: Give your testimony by phone

Decide which date works best for you (28th, 29th, 30th) and sign up to speak here: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/bosclerk/speakers-form. You’ll get a speaker number just like if we were attending in-person. Then, right before your turn to speak, the county clerk will call you and then you’ll speak directly to the Supervisors. Testimony can be up to 3 minutes only. This will be like waiting at Government Center in the hearing room, except you’ll be waiting from wherever you are! Here are some talking points for you to consider as you plan what to say in your own phone call testimony [Sample talking points for phone call or video testimony].

Option 3: Give your testimony by video

Decide which date works best for you (28th, 29th, 30th) and sign up to speak here: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/bosclerk/speakers-form. Then, record your testimony on video. Testimony can be up to 3 minutes only. You’ll get a speaker number, but you’ll upload your 3-minute video by 9 AM the day BEFORE the day of your hearing. When it is your turn at the hearing, they will click “play” on your video! Here are some talking points for you to consider as you plan what to say in your own video testimony [Sample talking points for phone call or video testimony].

Spread the word!

Please let me know how you choose to take action. Please also share this with your staff, networks and friends! We’d love to see your video if you chose that approach, or your final letter. Please email video links, photographs of you in the action on the phone, or final letters or talking points to Chloe Edwards at chloe@vakids.org. Thank you for taking action!

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