It Is Time to Bolster the Foundation

12 Feb

A-CRACK-IN-THE-FOUNDATION

A sturdy foundation is essential in the construction of any home or building. Likewise, most people would agree that a strong foundation is critical to each person’s success in school, work and life. Child care and early education are key bricks in this foundation, yet collectively our nation, state and local community have long ignored the fractured child care system that exists in our country.

Fortunately child care has become the focus of considerable national attention recently. In his January 20, 2015 State of the Union Address President Obama stated “In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality child care more than ever. It’s not a nice-to-have: it’s a must-have. So it’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.”

On January 16, 2015 Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said: “Child care is an essential service, and we need to make sure it is accessible and affordable for all of our families. New York’s moms and dads should never have to choose between quitting a job and going bankrupt, just to take care of a young child.”

Then, on the February 8, 2015 edition of GPS, Fareed Zakaria featured a segment on the importance of preschool education. He called President Obama’s preschool budget proposal “urgent”, noting that “the U.S. lags behind other countries when it comes to educating our youngest brains.”

Reliable child care is a necessity for parents who must work outside the home to support their families. Every child deserves to be cared for in a high quality, safe and nurturing environment that cultivates healthy development, early learning and joy. Children’s physical, emotional and cognitive development is impacted by the quality of the care they receive, but good child care is expensive and often unaffordable. For many families, paying for child care represents a family’s largest monthly expense after housing. Child Care Aware of America’s 2014 report on Parents and the High Cost of Child Care ranked New York the least affordable state in the nation for child care.

Central New Yorkers must also take notice and support investment in child care and early education to meet the challenge of providing a strong foundation for our children’s future success in school and the workforce. Every citizen can help by contacting your elected officials to urge support for measures that will improve affordability and access to safe, nurturing, high quality early care and learning programs. Now is the time for business and political leaders to work together and treat child care as an economic and social priority for the sake of our community’s future and the sake of every child in Central New York. To learn more about the importance of high quality childcare visit the Child Care Solution’s website at http://www.childcaresolutionscny.org.

Lori Boles
Executive Director, Child Care Solutions

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