Senator Murray discusses solutions to child care crisis with local parents & early learning professionals in tour of child care centers Across Washington State

During stops in Richland, Longview, Vancouver & Seattle, Senator Murray hears personal stories highlighting urgent need for improved access to affordable, high-quality child care and preschool

 

Senator Murray’s bill, the Child Care for Working Families Act, is the first of its kind and would address the high cost of child care & promote access to high-quality early learning

 

In addition to legislative efforts to reduce child care costs & support early learning, Senator Murray also secured largest increase of child care ever, more than $2.3 billion, in bipartisan spending bill Congress passed last month

 

As a former preschool teacher and the top Democrat on the Senate education committee, Senator Murray is leading the push in Congress to expand early learning

Seattle) – On the heels of securing the largest increase ever in federal child care funding to address America’s growing child care crisis, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate education committee, visited child care and early learning centers across Washington state to hear directly from parents, children, and child care workers and center directors about the challenges working families face when trying to find affordable, high-quality child care. Touring centers from the Tri-Cities to Southwest Washington, Senator Murray discussed her work to reduce child care costs for low and middle-income parents and strengthen investments in the nation’s child care infrastructure and workforce as part of her continued efforts to make the economy work better for working families.

Senator Murray made stops in Richland, Longview, Vancouver and Seattle to tour local child care facilities and learn more about how the lack of affordable child care options impact families and communities throughout Washington state. During her visits, Senator Murray met with local parents and child care center administrators and workers to hear stories of their various child care experiences, and shared the latest developments on her bill, the Child Care for Working Families Act. Additionally, Senator Murray discussed her recent efforts to secure more than $2.3 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant in the bipartisan spending bill Congress passed last month—the largest increase in federal child care spending ever, and a significant “down payment” on the bill’s goals to expand access to high-quality, affordable child care for all.

“As I’ve traveled and listened to stories across Washington state – from parents who’ve had to make tough choices in their families because of climbing child care costs, to child care center directors who have to routinely turn away tearful parents because there just aren’t enough slots to go around – one thing is certain: no family or community is exempt from the child care crisis,” said Senator Murray. “As a former preschool teacher, I know the first years of a child’s life are the most critical to their development, yet too many working families across our country don’t have the resources or support they need to give their kids the right start to enter Kindergarten ready to learn and succeed. As so many parents have told me, when it comes to securing our future, we can either pay for it now by improving child care and early learning for the next generation of students and workers, or pay for it dearly later – and that’s why I’ll continue fighting to strengthen investments in our youngest learners until our dream of providing high-quality child care for all is a reality.”

The Child Care for Working Families Act would significantly expand access to child care and early learning for low and middle-income families by bringing down rising child care costs, ensuring that no family under 150 percent of the state median income pays more than seven percent of their income on child care. Additionally, the bill would make major investments in training and compensation for child care workers, and would significantly expand access to high-quality preschool for low- and middle-income 3 and 4 year olds. Unveiled last fall, Senator Murray has already garnered strong bicameral support for the legislation, with 30 Senate co-sponsors and 119 cosponsors on the House companion bill.

Senator Murray’s tour began last Thursday, March 29 with a visit to the YMCA Early Learning Center in Richland, where a local father spoke about the financial strain his family has suffered due to rising child care costs for his three daughters, and long-time child care advocates shared details about the challenges they’ve faced finding and recruiting high-quality child care workers due to a lack of incentives for professionals to remain in early childhood jobs. On April 3, Senator Murray visited Lower Columbia College’s Early Learning Center in Longview, where she met with student parents who discussed the importance of ensuring their children are exposed to high-quality early learning experiences to prepare them for school success. The next day, on April 4, Senator Murray traveled to Vancouver where she was joined by NYU researcher Ajay Chaudry, author of Cradle to Kindergarten: A New Plan to Combat Inequality, on a tour of the Hough Early Learning Center, and met with local parents who shared personal stories about the difficulties they’ve faced trying to find quality child care they could afford. Senator Murray wrapped up this leg of her child care tour on April 5, visiting with parents and workers at South Seattle’s Hoa Mai Vietnamese Preschool where she heard more about the benefits of investing in child care workers and affordability for working families.

For more information on the Child Care for Working Families Act, click here. For bill text, click here.