Life has thrown Virginia families more than their fair share of challenges in recent years. From the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic to the strain of school closures and economic uncertainty, families have shown incredible strength. However, a new crisis is on the horizon, one that could devastate the foundation of Virginia’s communities: the impending child care cliff.
The Looming Crisis
A recent analysis highlighted a grim scenario: without swift intervention from Congress, an estimated 88,265 children in Virginia are on the brink of losing their child care beginning September 30. This alarming projection stems from the anticipated closure of nearly 1,400 child care programs across the state. As families are already grappling with rising costs and a lack of affordable child care, this crisis could have far-reaching consequences.
The Human Face of the Crisis
As a mother who works outside of the home, this issue hits close to home for me. My own family went through the challenges of child care upheaval during the pandemic. The closure of my son’s child care provider due to health concerns left us scrambling to find alternative solutions for him. Later, it became evident that he needed additional support. Our journey through assessments and evaluations eventually led us to the Chesterfield County pre-kindergarten program, where he finally received the specialized care he required.
Through this personal experience, I gained a profound understanding of the critical significance of accessible and high-quality child care for every child. As federal funding for child care approaches its expiration, families like mine are bracing for even greater obstacles in securing the necessary care and support our children need to truly flourish.
Other families shared their stories in The Campaign for a Family Friendly Virginia’s storybook.
A Beacon of Hope: The Childcare for Working Families Act
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, along with Senators Patty Murray, Bob Casey, and Mazie Hirono, recognize the urgency of this situation. They are advocating for the passage of the Child Care for Working Families Act—a bill that could provide the lifeline Virginia families need. This bill aims to offer critical federal funding to stabilize the child care sector and alleviate the financial burden on families.
Under the proposed legislation, most families would pay $10 a day or less for child care, ensuring that the cost won’t become an insurmountable obstacle. Additionally, the bill seeks to prevent the projected closure of child care programs by providing subsidies to child care providers. These subsidies would guarantee a living wage for child care workers and elevate their roles to be more on par with elementary school teachers. The bill also envisions expanding access to Pre-K and full-day, full-year Head Start programs, enhancing early childhood education across the state.
Your Voice Matters: Act Now
As the countdown to September 30th looms, your voice is needed more than ever. Use our link to email your local congressperson today and urge them to support the Child Care for Working Families Act. By doing so, you can help prevent a catastrophic loss of child care for tens of thousands of Virginia’s families. Let your congressperson know that this issue directly impacts their constituents, and that the future of our communities depends on their support.
The time for action is now. By raising your voice and advocating for the Child Care for Working Families Act, you are standing up for Virginia’s families, children, and the prosperity of our commonwealth. Together, we can ensure that the child care cliff becomes averted, allowing families to continue thriving and children to have the opportunities they deserve.Read More Blog Posts