Sign-On Letter to Members of Congress to include Child Care in the Reconciliation Bill

We need you to sign on to the letter to the NJ Congressional delegation by the CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON JUNE 1st.

Senators Murray (D-WA) and Kaine (D-VA) recently released a streamlined $200B child care and pre-k proposal to be included in the reconciliation bill in Congress. The proposal will provide significant resources to our existing child care system to create stability for States and child care providers, including:

  • Triple the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to increase funds to all states;
  • Use CCDBG to fund Supply and Compensation grants to expand child care supply, improve facilities, and raise compensation for early childhood educators;
  • Pilot a Child Care and Development Expansion program for six years;
  • Invest in high-quality preschool grants; and
  • Invest in raising wages for Head Start teachers.

Should this proposal become law, New Jersey is estimated to receive an additional $205 million each year for six years, with approximately $154 million to be used for increased child care access and quality and $51 million for child care wages and supply building.

While child care struggles began long before the COVID-19 pandemic, the last two and a half years have made those long-standing challenges for programs and even worse for parents. We are asking every member of the New Jersey Congressional delegation to rally behind the new Murray-Kaine Early Childhood Education (ECE) proposal.

And all you need to do is sign on to the letter by the CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON JUNE 1st.
This is a sign-on letter for organizations and parents. If you are signing as an organization (and not your own name), it will be listed on the letter. All types of organizations, including associations, center-based and registered family child care providers, advocacy organizations, unions, and any other organization that supports early childhood education from anywhere in New Jersey are welcome to sign on— and the more parent voices included the better!

Dear Members of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation:

On behalf of the more than [ # ] undersigned advocacy organizations, child care providers, associations, unions, parents and more, thank you for your efforts to prioritize the needs of the children and families of New Jersey . During these difficult last few years, your support for our child care system and the children and families with whom they serve has led to critical funding providing the first steps in helping child care programs keep their doors open and supporting parents as they return to work.

But even with this help, child care, a system that has long been underfunded and undervalued, remains in crisis.

While previous federal COVID funds have supported child care subsidy rate increases through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), provided $1000 retention bonuses for child care staff, provided various child care program grants, such as the Payroll Protection and Stabilization grants and increased subsidy eligibility to more families, the struggles continue. Our state is in the midst of a child care staffing crisis, because finding and retaining employees has become so difficult due to chronically low wages—and this affects, parents, but primarily mothers’ ability to return to work. The problem is most dire for those families with infants and toddlers, as this age-group is the most expensive to care for. While this system remains in turmoil, we know that we cannot go back to how it functioned before the pandemic. It didn’t work for parents and providers then, and it will not work in the future.

In order to provide high-quality programming in enriching learning environments, providers need to make costly investments in building infrastructure, classroom materials, and the workforce. Yet, programs cannot squeeze more out of families who are already struggling to afford care and our state’s child care subsidy system does not compensate programs for the true cost of that care. Even though programs would love to increase compensation for their educators, they cannot do so under the status quo without further burdening working families with higher fees or placing their programs’ futures in jeopardy. .

While we are encouraged that the New Jersey legislature is proposing significant new investments in child care and preschool in their FY23 budget recommendations, without substantial federal support and the scale it brings, the early education sector will move closer to the breaking point.

The good news is that the solution is within your reach. The latest proposal from your colleagues Senator Patty Murray and Senator Tim Kaine would finally make a committed and sustained investment in early education that families, providers, educators, young learners, and the economy desperately need.

The proposal will provide significant resources to our existing child care system to create stability for States and child care providers, including:

  • Triple the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to increase funds, which would enable New Jersey to provide child care subsidies to more working families and increase provider payment rates to support provider stability;
  • Use CCDBG to fund Supply and Compensation grants to expand child care supply, improve facilities, and raise compensation for early childhood educators, in order to address racial and gender equity in a field overwhelmingly comprised of women with 40 percent of whom are women of color;
  • Pilot a Child Care and Development Expansion program for six years;
  • Invest in high-quality preschool grants; and
  • Invest in raising wages for Head Start teachers.

According to a recent analysis from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), this proposal would deliver over $205 million for early childhood education each year to New Jersey and help over 20,000 additional children be served.

At this crucial moment when transformative investment is within reach but remains uncertain, we request that you ensure that early childhood education is included in the reconciliation package and that it includes a minimum investment of $200 billion into the early education and care system. This is a unique window of opportunity when the nation is recognizing the truly essential role that early care and education plays in child development, job security, and the national economy. We are grateful for your continued support of the early education and care community. Thank you again for your leadership and advocacy for the early learning community, parents and the children with whom come to their programs every day for education and care.