THE MAKE IT WORK CAMPAIGN S POLICY PROPOSAL ON CAREGIVING: CHILD CARE, EARLY EDUCATION, AFTER SCHOOL CARE AND LONG-TERM CARE

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1 THE MAKE IT WORK CAMPAIGN S POLICY PROPOSAL ON CAREGIVING: CHILD CARE, EARLY EDUCATION, AFTER SCHOOL CARE AND LONG-TERM CARE POLICY PROPOSAL ON CHILD CARE, EARLY EDUCATION, AFTER SCHOOL CARE As child care csts skyrcket, becming ut f reach fr even middle class families, wrking men and wmen are frced t make impssible chices, that aren t real chices at all. The cst f child care tday exceeds the cst f husing and even in-state cllege tuitin fr many families. Increasingly mre and mre wmen are pting ut f the wrkplace t take care f a new child, in part because child care is just t expensive. And families that can scrape tgether the mney fr safe, quality child care may be sacrificing ther pririties like saving fr retirement. Research has cnsistently shwn that the quality f care matters fr children s develpment and well-being in the shrt- and lng-term. Having access t affrdable quality child care is gd fr children, gd fr parents, and gd fr the ecnmy. Slutin: Our visinary prpsal makes high-quality, flexible care mre affrdable and accessible fr all families and it values the wrk f caregivers, wh have ne f the mst imprtant respnsibilities f all taking care f the peple we lve mst. Specifically, ur prpsed plicies include: Guaranteed child care subsidies fr middle- and lw-incme families with children aged 12 r yunger t ensure that child care csts n mre than 10 percent f pay and that child care prviders earn a living wage f $15/hur. If adpted, this wuld mark the first time middle and lw-incme families wuld have access t the same child care assistance prgram ne that wuld help them truly cver the cst f high quality care. When fully phased in apprximately 26 millin children wuld receive subsidies up frm nly 1.5 millin children tday. Public preschl fr three and fur year lds. Scial Security credits fr caregivers wh take time ut f the wrkfrce t care fr their family members. Investments in hme visiting, Head Start and Early Head Start. Tday parents are struggling n their wn t make it wrk. But we believe we are all in this tgether. This set f plicies makes investing in ur children s healthy develpment and 1

2 their parents ability t g t wrk t earn a decent living a natinal ecnmic pririty. Every family wuld be eligible fr sme frm f assistance. MAXIMIZING FLEXIBILITY AND AFFORDABILITY FOR FAMILIES: Tday, in the majrity f families with children, all parents in the husehld wrk, i and an increasing number f parents wrk evening, vernight r weekend hurs. ii Even fr parents wrking traditinal hurs, child care centers, preschls and elementary and middle schls ften dn t cver the hurs needed, r accunt fr cmmuting needs. Fr thse adults wrking nntraditinal shifts, the challenges are even greater. Our plicy priritizes the flexibility parents need t have child care available when and where they need it. Flexibility als means families must have access t affrdable, high quality child care that they can cunt n, instead f the current system where nly ne in every six eligible children receives a subsidy. That s why we prpse: Guaranteeing child care subsidies fr middle- and lw-incme families t prvide care fr their yung children, and fr befre and after schl and summer care fr children thrugh age 12. Ensuring that n family needs t pay mre than 10 percent f their pay fr care. Subsidies wuld be based n a sliding scale that takes int accunt incme, gegraphy, the age f children, family size, type f care and the number f children in care. Payment rates will cver the cst f high quality care that pays individual prviders at least $15/hur. N lw-incme family wuld pay mre than 7 percent f their incme, and n middle-incme family wuld pay mre than 10 percent f their incme. iii Families living at r belw the pverty level wuld be fully subsidized. N family earning twice the median incme in their state wuld be eligible fr subsidies. Subsidies will be phased ut fr families wh meet that incme limit. All families wh are currently eligible fr the Child and Dependent Tax Credits and Flexible Spending Accunts -, including thse wh earn t much t qualify fr subsidies - wuld cntinue t have access t thse tax benefits. Maximizing flexibility s that families with kids thrugh age 12 can chse the high quality prgram that wrks best fr their family in schls, child care centers, family child care hmes, hme-based care, as well as family, friend and neighbr care. Prviding enhanced supprt t child care prgrams t deliver the care that families need t meet their specific emplyment r educatinal needs, including infant and 2

3 tddler care, nn-standard hur care, and licensed drp in centers fr child care emergencies. Investing apprximately $168 billin/year ur preliminary estimate f the cst when fully phased in - f federal dllars t cver these csts fr apprximately 26 millin children, and ensuring that the dedicated funding expands with need. This funding wuld be fully ffset by clsing crprate tax lphles and ther tax refrms. Investing in federal-state partnerships t prvide public preschl fr all three and fur year lds regardless f incme. Early childhd is a crucial time fr shaping children s future academic success, health, and even their future emplyment success. Yet fewer than three in ten fur-year lds are enrlled in a high quality preschl prgram. Investing in high-quality early learning makes sense fr children s health and develpment and fr supprting their parents ecnmic stability. While sme states have develped preschl prgrams, thers have nt. Fr states that already have publicly funded preschl, this prgram helps them expand their prgrams t cver mre children in the state. Fr states that dn t have publicly funded preschl, this prgram helps them build a substantial preschl prgram. Subsidies wuld be available fr wrap-arund care t cver time when parents are wrking. VALUING CAREGIVING: Our sciety deeply undervalues the imprtant wrk f prviding care, and this plays ut in bth the labr market and the hme. The demand fr high quality caregiving will cntinue t grw, but the caregiving wrkfrce primarily cmprised f wmen is significantly undervalued. In the hme, wmen prvide 110 millin hurs a year f unpaid interactive child care, cmpared t the 55 millin hurs a year that men prvide. iv Since 1997 child care wrkers have experienced n increase in real earnings. That s why ur prpsal: Ensures subsidies will cver a minimum wage f at least $15/hur fr care prvider. Cmpensatin levels shuld als reflect experience and qualificatins. Cnnects investments in high quality care t pprtunities fr educatin, training and prfessinal develpment with financial assistance and reasnable time t meet new standards. Prvides the pprtunity fr wrkers prviding care t jin prfessinal rganizatins that advcate fr high wrker standards and ther quality imprvements and link wrkers t prfessinal develpment and ther benefits. 3

4 Includes the Scial Security Caregiver Credit that prvides retirees with Scial Security credit fr time spent ut f the labr market t prvide care t clse family members. Includes family, friends and neighbr care as a valued chice fr parents. Fr example, grandparents prviding child care while parents wrk culd receive subsidy payments fr caring fr their grandchildren. HIGH QUALITY CARE: Children s brains grw the mst quickly in the first years f life. But withut investments in high quality child care and early learning, t ften children fall behind. Unfrtunately, 46 percent f kindergarten teachers reprt that half their class r mre have specific prblems when they enter schl (including fllwing directins, lack f academic skill, r difficulty wrking independently). v T succeed in schl and beynd, children need child care arrangements and preschls that are safe, stable, and develpmentally and culturally apprpriate, where they are cared fr by adults wh have relevant training and educatin. Fr lder children, high quality after schl and summer care imprves academic utcmes while keeping kids healthy and safe. vi Our plicy calls fr state adptin f quality standards that als include cmpensatin. In additin, quality set-asides must include pprtunities fr educatin, training and prfessinal develpment, schlarships, and wage cmpensatin t prepare early educatrs t prvide develpmentally and culturally apprpriate services that prmte the healthy develpment and schl readiness f yung children. We wuld als ensure basic health and safety and flexibility by fully funding the bipartisan Child Care Develpment Blck Grant Reauthrizatin. Our prpsal als includes the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships prgram and increases the duratin f Head Start t a full schl day and year. We wuld als blster the evidence-based Maternal, Infant and Early Childhd Hme Visiting prgram, which allws hme visits fr pregnant wmen and new parents by nurses, scial wrkers and ther prfessinals t imprve maternal and child health, develpment and learning. POLICY PROPOSAL ON LONG-TERM CARE As ur ppulatin ages and peple live lnger than ever befre, many families are als cping with exrbitant eldercare csts. Mre than 12 millin Americans rely n lng-term care supprt, and this number is grwing quickly. Much f the fundatin f lng term care 4

5 service delivery in this cuntry was based in a different era an era defined by shrter lifespans, extended families living in the same cmmunities, and nursing hmes built t prtect thse wh were t ld t care fr themselves. Tday we are an increasingly aging sciety, ne in which family members are scattered acrss the cuntry and ften the wrld. Sandwich generatin wrking parents struggle t make ends meet while wrking t prvide care fr bth parents and children. Our predminant desire t age in place, in ur hmes and cmmunities nly increases the pressure t design a new framewrk with mre chices fr independent living at hme. Slutin: Our natin is in dire need f a cmprehensive, affrdable and accessible system fr lng-term care that supprts individuals wherever they are in the care cntinuum, whether they are recipients r prviders f care, paid r unpaid. Only a new federal plicy framewrk that recgnizes the new demands n families will address ur 21 st century need fr care in America. As a dwn payment n this cmmitment, we prpse a new $300 millin state innvatin fund t supprt state planning and/r pilt prgrams that address lngterm care needs and care wrkfrce develpment. This will allw states t invest in creative, innvative slutins t lng-term care issues. The federal gvernment can serve as bth a mnetary and technical resurce t enable state innvatin, and learn frm what wrks best. We als supprt paid family and medical leave t ensure families can affrd t care fr their lved nes and themselves when they face serius illnesses. Like ur child care and early educatin prpsal, we supprt a minimum wage f $15/hur fr all lng-term caregivers. Federal prgrams that cver the csts f caretakers shuld expand t cver these csts. Plicies that supprt wrking families such as paid sick days, predictable scheduling and minimum wage increases must include paid caregivers. Caregivers als need access t affrdable, flexible high quality child care fr their wn families, which wuld be addressed in the prpsal we ve laid ut abve. i ii Chices in the Real Wrld, Illinis Actin fr Children, 2013, available at: iii Lw-incme is defined as up t 85 percent f State Median Incme (SMI), an average f abut $66,000 fr a family f fur natinally. Middle-incme is defined as between 85 percent f SMI and 200 percent f SMI, which is an average f abut $156,000 fr a family f fur natinally. iv v https://www.naccrra.rg/sites/default/files/default_site_pages/2013/quality_matters_may_2013.pdf vi 5

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