Chairman Crowley, Congresswoman Frankel Re-Introduce Legislation to Help Working Families Afford Quality Child Care

Aug 8, 2017 Issues: Economy and Jobs, In the Community

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) announced the reintroduction of legislation to help working families afford stable, quality child care. The Children First Act (H.R. 3643) would expand funding for child care assistance for working families to expand opportunities as child care costs increasingly consume larger portions of family budgets nationwide.

“The cost of stable, safe, and quality child care burdens far too many working families – limiting their ability to grow in the workforce. Providing assistance to hard-working mothers and fathers will help lift families into the middle class and provide a boost to our economy overall,” said Chairman Crowley. “Parents must be able to make child care decisions that make sense for their families, and I’m proud to join with Congresswoman Frankel to move us closer to that reality.”

“The cost of safe quality child care has gotten beyond the means of too many young parents," said Congresswoman Lois Frankel, Chair of the Democratic Women's Working Group. "Our legislation is a better deal for millions of families that live paycheck to paycheck.”

Nationwide, child care costs are often higher than other household expenses and typically exceed the average amount families spend on food, housing, transportation, and utilities. In 2015, in 30 states and the District of Columbia, the average annual cost for child care for an infant in a child care center was higher than a year’s tuition and fees at a four-year public college.

“It’s time for our country to do more to help working parents sustain a family and help set up their children for success. The National Women’s Law Center believes that this bill would help to address one of the most significant gaps that they face—the serious lack of affordable, high quality child care options for infants and toddlers,” said Helen Blank, the director of Child Care and Early Learning at the National Women’s Law Center. “We are grateful to Representatives Crowley and Frankel for introducing the Children First Act.”

The Children First Act increases mandatory funding for child care subsidies for working families with children under four years old by more than $86 billion over ten years, as proposed in President Barack Obama's final budget request. This increased funding will help more than a million more children have access to safe and affordable child care in the first year alone – ensuring that their parents can look for work that meets their needs without having to worry about affording child care.

The legislation is supported by dozens of family and children-focused groups nationally and in New York, including the National Women’s Law Center, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Child Center of New York, CLASP, Child Care Aware of America, First Focus Campaign for Children, Save the Children, Children’s Defense Fund, the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc., the Day Care Council of New York, Inc., the Harlem Children’s Zone, the New York State Network for Youth Success, the New York State Paid Leave Coalition, Zero to Three, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, UFCW (RWDSU), and Winning Beginning NY.