Child Care Crisis

The pandemic has brought attention to so many pre-existing issues across the nation, and one of the most pressing is the lack of safe, affordable child care. Our elected officials have never taken steps to address the problem entirely. It is frustrating for those raising young children when career politicians look the other way or put a bandaid on the issue rather than tackling it head-on. We can no longer pretend everything is fine. We have a child care crisis, and we need it fixed.

Suffolk County consistently ranks among the most expensive places to live in America.* So it should come as no surprise to hear of parents working two or three jobs to make ends meet. The struggle of single parents is even more severe. The harsh reality is that the cost of living in Suffolk County, over the years, continues to grow. With inflation now on the rise, the need for safe, affordable Child Care is more important than ever.

When I speak with young parents, they are concerned. They are upset at the per month cost of childcare, which often averages more than their rent or mortgage. So, childcare becomes a huge stressor for parents, and many have a dilemma: What do they prioritize? Do they stay home to take care of their children? Or do they keep working? Single parents who have no partner to look after their children have it even harder, for they are the ones who often have no choice but to keep working.

To assist these financially strapped parents, I strongly support making the Child Tax Credit (CTC) permanent. Making the CTC permanent will provide:

  • All working families to receive the full credit if they make up to $150,000 for a couple or $112,500 for a family with a single parent.
  • $3,000 per child ages 6–17 years and $3,600 per child younger than age 6.
  • Monthly payments of $250 per child between ages 6–17 or $300 per child younger than age 6.

As an educator and parent, I have a unique perspective on this issue. I understand the importance of quality daycare centers in fostering a child’s development early on. I also recognize the pressing need for parents to find safe, affordable child care to enter their place of employment with peace of mind, knowing that their child is well taken care of. The lack of government response to this crisis that working households on Long Island face is unacceptable and has gone on far too long. Parents need to know that I vow to work tirelessly to see the Child Tax Credit (CTC) become permanent.

In addition to tax relief credits to offset the high costs of child care, we must also consider the strains of the business owners of child care centers. These small business owners are struggling to keep their businesses afloat during a time of labor shortages. Childcare providers need to stay in business, and they need to be able to pay their workers fair wages. Child care workers carry the immense burden of taking care of someone else’s child every day, including weekends and holidays. Enhancing the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan and grant programs for child care business owners is one way these struggling businesses can receive assistance. These SBA programs can assist existing child care business owners and those hoping to start their own child care business.

We have to face the reality that parents cannot work if their children do not have sound, reasonable, and affordable childcare. Parents leaving the workforce due to a lack of safe, affordable child care hurts our local and regional economies. Solving the child care crisis helps our economy. Employees are more productive, and it allows businesses to manage the hours of their employees better. It also does something most important; it enables families to have peace of mind, to raise their kids the way they deem fit and on their terms.

The child care crisis is real, and it cannot continue. We need a solution, and we cannot stand for any more empty promises.

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