Chocolates, or Quality and Affordable Child Care? A Mother’s Day Request

News, Uncategorized

By Lisa Finaldi

Even if you’re not a parent of young children, you are probably aware of the child care crisis across the country. Congress has not renewed billions in federal child care funding, and as a result, care providers across North Carolina and the US are cutting back or shutting down – making it even harder for parents to find affordable care for their young children. 

You may know someone who has quit their job or put their career or education on hold because they couldn’t find affordable child care.  These stories are commonplace today. In North Carolina, only 3.4% of families – single parent and two parent households – have a stay-at-home parent who cares for children full-time. Access to quality and affordable choices for child care is a necessity for parents today – so they can go to work, continue their education, or advance their career – and provide for their families.  

This year for Mother’s Day, a valuable gift would be for our elected officials to fund our child care system, to alleviate some of the crisis in care, and provide greater access for more families. There are three things North Carolina’s legislators can do now:

1. Replace the child care funds that are running out from the federal COVID American Rescue Plan. These funds were used to stabilize child care programs during the pandemic.  Even with federal support, NC has lost 203 child care programs across the state since March 2020 – and many more could close this year. A $200 million allocation would allow our state to stabilize many programs.

2. Update the rate that child care providers receive from state subsidies for low-income families to send their children to child care. The compensation for subsided care doesn’t cover the full cost. 

3. State funds for NC Pre-K also do not cover the full cost of the program, so school districts and local governments have to find the funding to ensure their programs stay open.  Many communities can’t make up the difference – especially with federal funds running out. Many NC Pre-K programs are reducing capacity, and some programs are closing entirely. 

These are the most immediate steps needed to keep programs open across the state. Learn more in this recent blog from the NC Early Childhood Foundation. 

Want to join me in speaking up for child care this Mother’s Day? Click here to find contact information for your state legislators in the NC House and Senate. I love a good box of chocolates, but I’d much rather solve the child care crisis, and benefit moms, dads, and kids across our state.