Casey among Democrats supporting affordable child care proposal
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sarah Morrison relied on child care while she juggled life as both a parent and a student, pursuing her master’s degree and raising six kids.
Now, she says, her sister is in the same situation. But in this case, the cost of child care eventually became too much.
“It was more affordable to be at home with her family and take of her children than to work,” said Morrison, of New York.
Their stories are among the millions behind the latest push for affordable and even free child care, re-introduced by a group of Democratic Senators Tuesday, known as the Child Care for Working Families Act.
“Working parents are being forced to work fewer hours, turn down high-paid positions, and even quit their job because they can’t find child care,” said U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the lead Senator sponsor.
Their goal is simple: to make child care cheaper for middle-class families. Under the plan, parents or guardians would pay no more than seven percent of the annual income. Essentially the less a family makes, the less they would pay in child care.
The average cost nationwide is $8,700 per year, according to the advocacy group Child Care Aware of America. But costs in Pennsylvania can jump to more than $11,500 for infants in center-based care rather than home-based care.
“In our state, if you’re a two-parent family, the cost of center-based care for an infant can take up 12 percent of the income,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, one of the initial co-sponsors.
Supporters argue the plan is also good economic policy, potentially creating upwards of 770,000 child-care jobs by allowing 1.6 million parents to go back to work.
The bill packs in a bunch of related issues, such as expanding access to the care families need, and providing funding for states to create pre-school programs for low-and-middle income families.
All of the Democratic Senators seeking the presidency in 2020 supported this plan when it was first introduced in 2017.