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child care ’
Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
Working families was a main focus in President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address, with an emphasis on helping parents ease the financial struggles of raising kids.
Last night, the President shared the story of one couple, Rebekah and Ben Erler, who raised two sons through tough times. In sharing their story, President Obama said, “America, Rebekah and Ben’s story is our story. They represent the millions who have worked hard, and scrimped, and sacrificed, and retooled.”
Rebekah and Ben’s story also became the foundation for the President to segue into other important family concerns, which included the following goals.
Goal: Affordable, High-Quality Child Care
For families like the Erlers who need (but can’t afford) outside help to care for their kids, the President promised to make “affordable, high-quality child care” more available. “It’s not a nice-to-have — it’s a must-have. It’s time we stop treating child care as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us,” he said.
Goal: A New Tax Cut for Children
In order to make affordable child care a possibility, the President supported “lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year.” As a step toward this direction, he proposed “a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year.” He also proposed closing tax loopholes that allowed America’s one percent to evade paying taxes in order to “help more families pay for child care and send their kids to college.”
Goal: Paid Sick Leave and Paid Maternity Leave
Forty-three million people in the U.S. do not get paid sick leave, a shocking statistic that the President shared. “Today, we’re the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers,” he said. “And that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home.”
To implement paid sick leave and paid maternity leave, the President already started the ball rolling. Last week, he announced that federal employees would be getting up to six weeks of paid maternity leave for the birth or adoption of a child, which he hoped to expand to more moms across America. And he’s supporting a new act that will give employees up to seven paid sick days in a year.
Goal: Free Community College
The 2013 and 2014 State of the Union addresses focused on providing universal pre-K to America, allowing kids to have free schooling before kindergarten. This year, the President focused more on higher education.
To ensure that kids have the opportunity to attend college without fear of debt, the President promised “to lower the cost of community college — to zero.” Because 40 percent of kids choose to attend community college, he saw value in showing kids “that two years of college becomes as free and universal in America as high school is today.” In cutting costs, Obama hoped to reduce the burden of college loans, “so that student debt doesn’t derail anyone’s dreams.”
Goal: Online Privacy for Children
With the increase in cyberbullying and hacking, the President also made online privacy a priority, stating that no one should have the right to “invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids.” He promised to combat cyber threats and urged Congress “to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information.” (Side note: This past week, Illinois passed a law that allowed schools and universities to request a student’s social media password.)
The President also conveyed some trademark words of hope, stressing that his goals would help “hardworking families make ends meet.” Ultimately, he said, “I want our actions to tell every child, in every neighborhood: your life matters, and we are as committed to improving your life chances as we are for our own kids.”
Read the full transcript of the 2015 State of the Union Address.
Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea
Image: President Obama giving the 2015 State of the Union Address at the White House via the official White House Twitter account
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Child Health, Education, Parenting News
Friday, December 5th, 2014
Child Care Aware of America has released it’s 8th annual Parents and the High Cost of Child Care report—and the results are sobering. According to this year’s report, child care in the United States can cost up to $12, 280 a year for a 4-year-old, and even more—up to $14,508—for babies.
“Quality, affordable child care provides critical support to our nation’s workforce and is one of the earliest learning settings our children will enter,” said Lynette Fraga, Ph.D., executive director of Child Care Aware® of America, in a press release about this year’s findings. “It’s time to address the disparity between high care costs and low provider wages, and find a solution to what has become a crisis.”
Among other things, the report looked at center-based care “based on the cost of child care as a percentage of state median income for a two-parent family” and found that in 2013, the 10 states with the least-affordable child care for infants in fulltime care were, in order: New York, Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Washington, Illinois, Nevada, California, and Kansas. For 4-year-olds, the least-affordable states were New York, Vermont, Oregon, Nevada, Minnesota, Colorado, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine.
Other key findings in this year’s report:
Parents pay more for child care (for two kids) than they do for their mortgage in 23 states, plus Washington, D.C.; and parents who have both a baby and a 4-year-old in center-based child care pay more for that care than they do for rent in every state. And in every region of the U.S., families spend more on child care fees for an infant in center-based child care than they spend on food.
Tell us: How much do you spend on child care?
Image of child in day care: Shutterstock; Graphic: Child Care Aware of America
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Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
A bill that will help to make early childhood care safer and more affordable for low-income families passed in the U.S. House on Monday, Politico reports.
The bill, known as the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 (CCDBG) will require certification to guarantee that health and safety standards are being followed and includes policies like:
- improved background checks for care providers
- training for care providers in first-aid and CPR
- using safe sleeping practices to prevent sudden infant death syndrome
- training care providers on working with children with disabilities
While these are practices we would hope that a daycare center is already enacting, this law will require state certification and annual inspections, among other qualifications. The CCDBG was originally created 24 years ago and has only been updated once since then, in 1996, according to the Children’s Defense Fund. Re-introduced to Congress in 2013, it was passed by both Republican and Democrat supporters in the Senate in March in a 96-2 vote. An amended version of this bill passed on Monday in the House and next up, the Senate will vote again. If it passes it will go on to President Obama for his approval, according to ChildCare Aware.
This bill also seeks to make this care more affordable. The Children’s Defense Fund reports that the annual price tag on early childhood care for young children and infants costs more than attending in-state public college in 35 states and the District of Columbia.
“Whether going to work or school, a lot of parents have to decide who will care for their children and worry if they’ve made the right decision,” House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) said in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation will strengthen this important program to give working moms and dads greater access to quality, affordable child care.”
Are you thinking about putting your child in daycare? Make sure to ask these questions before you commit.
Photo of three children courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Thursday, March 13th, 2014
A law that mandates safety measures for early childhood education centers including background checks for caregivers, annual inspections, CPR training requirements, safe sleep practices, and more has been reauthorized by the U.S. Senate as the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 (CCDBG). The legislation, which will coordinate federal and state funding for early childhood education programs, was supported by Senators from both major political parties.
“Early childhood education is essential to a child’s future,” U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Co.) told the Colorado Springs Gazette, “Early learning programs are proven to increase kindergarten readiness and to provide students with the early skills they need to succeed later in school and in life. ”
North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr voiced his pleasure that the bill ensures that early childhood education funds, which help an estimated 1.5 million low-income children have access to early education, wind up at programs that meet consistent and high standards for safety and efficacy.
“CCDBG is a welfare reform success story that encourages personal responsibility,” Burr said in The Ripon Advance. “The transparency we incorporate in this law will go a long way toward making parents well-informed consumers of childcare and improve the safety of the programs. It is of particular importance to me that federal dollars will no longer go to childcare providers who have been convicted of violent crimes. CCDBG also places an emphasis on improving the quality of our childcare facilities over the next several years. This is not another Washington entitlement but an investment in the self-sufficiency of some of our hardest working families.”
Access to early education programs is on the rise across the country, even in states that had previously objected to the idea that every child should have a preschool education.
Image: Colored pencils, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
The cost of center-based child care exceeds the cost of tuition at state colleges in a number of states, due as much to rising child care costs as to slightly declining state college tuitions. More from CNN Money:
Last year, average center-based child care costs rose by nearly 3% nationwide, according to a report from the nonprofit Child Care Aware of America. Full-time care for an infant ranged from a high of $16,430 a year in Massachusetts to $4,863 in Mississippi. Meanwhile, center-based care for a four-year-old hit a high of $12,355 in Massachusetts and a low of $4,312 in Mississippi.
Why such huge price disparities? Blame it on differences in labor costs, state regulations and cost of living expenses, such as housing, food and utilities.
For example, Massachusetts has strict child care regulations that require one teacher for every three infants, compared to one teacher per five infants in Mississippi. Meanwhile, child care centers in New York City, among one of the most expensive places for child care in the country, pay significantly higher rents and also must meet strict state standards.
“In order to meet those (standards), it costs money,” said Jessica Klos Shapiro, public policy and communications coordinator at the nonprofit Early Care & Learning Council, which advocates for families across New York state.
The centers are also grappling with ballooning operational costs, ranging from rising insurance costs to higher food prices, said Lynette Fraga, Child Care Aware’s executive director.
As a result, child care costs grew by as much as eight times the rate of family incomes last year, the report said. And they continue to take a major chunk out of family budgets, often representing a household’s largest monthly expense.
Find out if your child’s development is on track with our handy growth charts. Then, check out the 10 BEST apps for preschoolers.
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Image: Kids at day care, via Shutterstock