Last month, we issued a new School Readiness report that found only 7.5 percent – or less than 1 in 13 – of Pennsylvania children age 0-4 who are in need of child care benefit from high-quality care. In many cases, these young learners cannot benefit from high-quality child care because their working parents cannot afford it.
Last week, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) took a step toward making child care more affordable by introducing legislation to expand the federal child care tax credit.
In announcing his plan, Sen. Casey cited a Pew study of Census Bureau data that found average weekly child care expenses (measured in inflation-adjusted 2013 dollars) rose from $87 in 1985 to $148 in 2013 - an increase of more than 70 percent. Other data demonstrates that the cost of child care for two children can exceed housing costs for some families in Pennsylvania.
But making child care more affordable benefits more than just those young learners and their families. High-quality child care has a ripple effect that ultimately benefits every Pennsylvania taxpayer and bolsters the commonwealth’s competitiveness in a global economy.
When we make child care more affordable, it gives parents more reliable options for ensuring their kids are safe and cared for during the work day. Workers and employers appreciate quality child care because it promotes peace of mind that helps employees focus on their work, making them more reliable and productive.
The bottom line: Sen. Casey’s proposal can help many more families in Pennsylvania afford the high-quality child care that will help their children grow and develop to their full potential and help make Pennsylvania a stronger economic competitor.
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