The pandemic has brought attention to so many existing problems across the nation, and one of the most pressing is the lack of safe, affordable child care. 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 build a life in our region. The struggle of single parents is even more severe. The harsh reality is that the wages have failed to keep pace with the cost of living, leaving even less money in a family’s budget for high-quality child care. With inflation now on the rise, the need for safe, affordable child care is more important than ever.
So, childcare becomes a huge stressor for parents, and many face a dilemma, with no good options: Do they stay home to take care of their children? Or do they keep working and place their children in a low-cost, possibly non-licensed care facility? 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 current temporary Child Tax Credit (CTC) permanent. The CTC provides monthly payments to parents which can be used to off-set expenses such as daycare and afterschool programs.
As an educator and parent, I have a unique perspective on this issue. I understand the importance of high quality daycare centers in fostering a child’s early development. I also recognize the pressing need for parents to find safe, affordable child care to enter their place of employment with peace of mind. Parents need to know that I vow to work tirelessly to see the Child Tax Credit (CTC) become permanent, and will fight for all of the family support programs in the Build Back Better Bill, if it has not become law by the time I am in Congress,
In addition to tax relief credits to offset the high costs of child care, we must also consider the strains of the 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 livable wages.. 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.
The child care crisis is real, and it cannot continue. We need solutions for families, for the owners of day care centers and private providers, and those seeking employment in the childcare industry.