Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) has introduced, The Ensuring Child Care for Working Families Act of 2012 (HR 5188) along with Representatives George Miller (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA), John Lewis (D-GA) and Gwen Moore (D-WI).) The bill creates an entitlement to the states to provide quality child care to working families with incomes below 200% of poverty. It is structured to benefit caregivers whose receipt of the support will enable them to accept new employment, remain employed, or attend an education or training program. The bill addresses the current deficits in child care policy as well as the current economic challenges straining too many families.
Currently only 1 out of 6 children who are eligible for child care subsidies are covered, according to the National Women’s LawCenter. Absent legislation, approximately 1.4 million children in FY13 will benefit from federal child care assistance, the predominate source of funding for this safety net support. According to the Center, which tracks child care subsidy access, this represents the lowest number of children served since 1998.
Without HR 5188, the child care support is insufficient and far from meeting the need for families struggling in an economy just starting to stabilize after the recession. McDermott explains, “In these difficult economic times, too many families are forced to find ways to pay for child care assistance while they struggle to put food on the table and pay their rent. Child care assistance enables us to have a stable work force, with fewer absences and more productivity. And research shows that quality child care gives children the chance to learn and develop skills they need to succeed in school and in life.” Furthermore, “This [bill] will ensure that millions of low-income parents can work to establish a better life for their children by working and/or getting the education needed to move up the economic ladder.”
Working families who are able to meet their basic needs are far less likely to feel the strains that can lead to maltreatment. CWLA has expressed support for this bill. Join us by asking your representative to cosponsor this important piece of legislation.