In states across the country, Early Childhood Education advocates urge large stable, adequate funding for children and educators

For months, advocates funded by the Raising Child Care Fund have worked in communities across the country to garner consistent and adequate funding for children, families, and providers in early childhood education. While most states set aside funding for k-12 programs, there is no federal policy or funding formula directing states on how much to earmark for early childhood education programs that serve our youngest minds. While President Biden issued an executive order on child and home care on April 20, advocates say Congress must appropriate funds to make Biden’s vision a reality.

“We know that when it comes to children, it truly takes a village – a community of parents, child educators, neighbors, friends and representatives who work together to set the next generation up for success,” said LaDon Love, executive director of Spaces in Action. The organization will host a press conference on Wednesday, April 26 at 10:30 a.m. at the John Wilson Building in Washington, D.C. to highlight the impact of cuts to the Pay Equity Fund.

From the families who rely on early childhood education and a safe place to take their kids when they work, to the providers who serve children, but often struggle with meager wages and insufficient benefits, to employers who rely on a stable workforce, no one wins when early childhood education is under- or ill-funded. That’s why advocates from Spaces in Action in Washington, D.C.; Rattle the Windows in West Virginia; First Up in Pennsylvania; OLE in New Mexico; and the Ohio Organizing Collaborative’s CEO Project, (and a host of other organizations) will participate in Community Change’s National Day Without Childcare on May 8.

“Due to our nation’s woefully underfunded child care system, many parents and providers fail to get the support and resources they need to ensure their children’s academic and social emotional needs are met and to pay enough to providers to keep them in the workforce,” said Tamara Lunan who leads the CEO Project at the Ohio Organizing Collaborative.

The CEO Project will host a press conference at the Ohio Statehouse on May 8 to highlight the childcare crisis.

“Although our nation’s early childhood education and care system is broken, most of the burden of the failed system has been placed on the shoulders of women – especially Black and brown women,” said Rosanna Matos of First Up PA. “Whether you’re a child care provider who wakes up at the crack of dawn to prepare the day’s curriculum, buy the ingredients for a healthy food schedule, and read up on the latest activities that help children’s brain development, too many early childhood educators are left without enough funds to hire help, or care for their own families.

“We cannot forget the workforce behind the workforce,” said Amy Hutchison, executive director of Rattle the Windows. “No provider should be left at the end of the day without enough funds to buy their own kid food or new school clothes. And no parent should have to miss out on a promotion at work because they’re unable to afford or access child care.”

Rattle the Windows will participate in a series of town halls, with the first one being held on April 11, coinciding with the National Day without Childcare.

While many of us have heard the numbers about how unaffordable care is, there are hidden costs of an underfunded care system that run more than pocket deep. “The pain of the current system disproportionately impacts children and families,” Love said. What we must appreciate is that this challenge is a policy choice; it doesn’t have to be this way. Policymakers can choose to invest in children, parents, providers, and communities. Doing so not only helps the families and childcare providers, but it also helps employers who need consistent help.”

“I Imagine and hope for a system funded on the true cost of care, that would make high-quality, accessible care for our children and families possible,” Lunan concluded. “This would support providers who would be able to keep their jobs, hire help and ensure high-quality, affordable child care slots for all families who need it. We’d have women, particularly Black and brown women, back in the workforce. And we’d have educated, healthy, and happy kids.”