Let our state legislators know that cutting funding to the state child care system is unacceptable.
The child care system in Pennsylvania is severely underfunded. Child care providers haven’t received an increase in their base rates from the state in 10 years, yet many continue to provide high quality care and education for all children in their care, at an average wage of $9.42/hour. Nearly 14,000 children are currently on a waiting list for services; they are deemed eligible but not enough funds are available to serve them.
The Governor’s budget proposes a very modest $35 million increase for the system, most of which addresses new federal requirements and implications of last year’s $20 million cut to child care. The House budget proposes no increase, but rather a $28 million CUT from this year’s level.
With such a cut, many of our children will lose access to safe, stimulating child care environments; our educators and caregivers will face increasing hardship in providing them; and our working parents will be hurt. Cutting child care to fund pre-K is a zero sum game for programs and families, since child care is the foundation of high quality pre-K.
Raise your voice! Every single state legislator in PA needs to hear from us that cutting child care funding is unacceptable. Whether you are a parent, provider, or an advocate for the welfare of our communities, you can remind our policymakers that child care funding not only keeps our children safe, learning, and thriving as their brain architecture is being created, but also our keeps our families, communities, and businesses working. Our child care system needs more resources, not less.
Calling your legislators has the most impact. Find their contact information at http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/index.cfm#address. If you are pressed for time, to send an e-mail message, go to http://pennaeyc.p2a.co/pVcGOLu, fill out your name and contact information, and click on the link. It will take less than three minutes, and you can rest in the knowledge that you didn’t stay silent when our voices needed to be heard.
(If your legislator suggests that money can be saved through greater efficiencies in the child care system, he or she lacks accurate information. Child Care Information Service (CCIS) agencies contract with the Commonwealth through a competitive bid process to determine eligibility, which includes: documenting parent income and work or training hours; validating provider rates against state set limits; making payment to providers and tracking critical payment issues such as attendance to maximize funds; and, providing parent counseling to help families choose not only on the basis of convenience, but on the level of quality—to help children develop physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively—and reliability, so that parents are able to meet the work demands of their employment. Data shows that all of these costs, which include more than administration, average only about 9% of child care funding.)