Congressman Sablan introduces Childcare for Working Families Act

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“Too many working families today are priced out of high-quality child care and pre-school,” said CNMI Congressman Gregorio Kilili Sablan.

This issue will be addressed by the Childcare for Working Families Act.

“The Child Care for Working Families Act is a bold proposal to close the gap in access to affordable, quality child care and early education. As chair of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, I will continue to fight to ensure our children have the best possible start in life, and families have access to high-quality child care and preschool,” added Sablan.

Research shows that the cost of child care has increased by 25 percent in the past decade, forcing many families into a “stay-at-home parent” situation, where only one parent could be apart of the workforce.

Studies have further surmised that in a majority of states infant care costs exceed the average cost of in-state college tuition at public four-year institutions.

What exactly is covered in this bill, which are actually amendments to both Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 and the Head Start Act?

• Build more inclusive, high-quality child care providers for children with disabilities, and infants and toddlers with disabilities, including by increasing funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

• Help all Head Start programs meet the new expanded duration requirements and provide full-day, full-year programming
• No family under 150 percent of state median income pays more than seven percent of their income on child care.
• Families under 75 percent of the state median income will not have to pay anything at all.
• More than double the number of children eligible for child care assistance and ensure all those who are eligible have the ability to enroll their child in a quality program.
• Increase workforce training and compensation, including by ensuring that all child care workers are paid at least a living wage and parity with elementary school teachers if they have similar credentials and experience.

Bobby Scott, chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor and Sablan, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, along with 96 other cosponsors introduced the act which is labeled as a comprehensive early learning and child care bill to ensure affordable, high-quality child care for working middle class families and those living paycheck to paycheck.

With the overwhelming support in the House of Representatives, there has also been a companion bill introduced in the senate by Senators Patty Murray, Bob Casey and Mazie Hirono with 35 additional cosponsors.