Last night, the U.S. Senate advanced a reconciliation package that excludes any funding for child care and early childhood education workforce. In response to these disappointing actions, YWCA USA CEO Margaret Mitchell issued the following statement:
The outrage and frustration felt by YWCAs across the country following the advancement of the reconciliation package is palpable. When the COVID-19 pandemic paralyzed the nation, YWCAs refused to close our doors. We identified creative solutions to ensure families had a clean, healthy space to turn to and children had continuity in their care, development, and education. Today, as we work in our communities to return to pre-pandemic service levels, we are still feeling and seeing first hand what our families and teachers need to survive. Whether it’s child care tuition subsidies, equitable teacher pay, or paid leave, robust, long-term investments that reduce costs for working families and that enable providers to retain skilled child care educators is non-negotiable. But once again, Congress has failed to deliver a child care solution, leaving families and child care providers who are disproportionately women and women of color holding the bag.
At a time when our country is facing record inflation as well as unyielding waitlists and detrimental workforce shortages in the child care sector, Congress must include common sense child care investments in the reconciliation framework. Time and time again, YWCA advocates across the country wrote, called, and took to social media sharing their stories of the urgent and often unpredictable barriers they face, demanding a long-term sustainable solution. We held out hope that the patch-work system we cobbled together to keep the lights on and the doors open would be acknowledged and met with financial relief from Congress. It is outrageous — particularly in these economic times — that Congress would expect families and providers to bear the burden of their political inaction.
The lack of investments in child care and early learning is a set-back we cannot and will not accept. We are ready to work with Congress to support child care providers — including those in the YWCA network — across the country, and we call on you to take immediate action.