RELEASE: Leading Stakeholders Call on Policymakers to Prioritize, Make Structural Change on Child Care

Washington, D.C. — A new report released jointly by eight of the country’s leading labor, policy, and advocacy organizations calls on policymakers to prioritize and fix America’s broken child care system. Currently, the United States lose $57 billion a year in revenue, wages, and productivity as a result of child care problems. The report includes an overview and history of the nation’s child care system; outlines policy benchmarks for reform; and looks at how a large-scale investment in child care infrastructure sets youth on a path to success, elevates the early childhood workforce, provides families with needed relief, promotes racial and gender equity, and more broadly encourages economic growth.

Leaders from the respective groups released the following statements to accompany the report’s release:

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers: “For far too long, our country’s early childhood education and care system has failed to meet families’ needs, leaving gaps in care for parents who get up and go to work to provide for their kids. Early childhood educators are often paid poverty wages, making it impossible for them to support families of their own. This system requires extensive investment so our youngest generation can access educational and developmental opportunities as soon as they’re ready.”

Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress: “As the cost of child care has increased and more parents are making career sacrifices to make ends meet, the public increasingly understands why we need big changes to our current child care system. To ensure everyone has the opportunity to thrive and promote the productivity of our workforce, it’s incumbent upon policymakers to take bold action to support families and early educators and to improve the economy for everyone.”

Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy: “Millions of families across the country—especially those with low incomes and families of color—struggle to access and afford the high-quality child care they need to thrive. Now is the time for policymakers to make a serious investment to increase families’ economic security and children’s well-being.”

Lorella Praeli, vice president of Community Change: “The patchwork of existing child care and early education programs are woefully underfunded and are difficult for parents to navigate. Families and child care workers across the country are building a powerful movement that will create a system of universal care for all families. The hardships parents face finding affordable child care matters to all of us as a society and a country.”

Brian Ahlberg, president of Every Child Matters: “Voters want candidates to say how they’ll promote well-being and help ensure opportunity for our kids. Addressing the child care crisis is key. When families can’t get access to or afford quality child care, kids miss crucial educational opportunities to prepare for school and life. Parents struggle to participate in the workforce. We’re calling on presidential candidates to make children a priority and share the steps they’ll take to make the system work for kids, parents, and providers.”

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director and CEO of MomsRising: “It is unacceptable that child care costs more than public college in most states, that Black and Latinx families often have to spend more of their income on child care than anyone else, and that so many moms leave the workforce because child care costs are so high. Every parent needs safe enriching places for their children, every child needs quality early education to thrive, and every child care worker deserves a living wage. We need to reform our child care system now.”

Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center: “We must do better and expand child care access, make it affordable, provide the resources to ensure care is high quality—and raise the wages of an underpaid child care workforce that is mostly women. Policymakers must finally confront the serious gaps in a system that prevents parents from working, children from learning, and providers from making a livable wage.”

Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union: “Children deserve to spend their days with peers having fun and discovering the world with the help of well-compensated adults. When those caring for and educating our children are working long hours for low wages and struggle to care for their own kids, there’s something wrong. That’s why child care providers have been organizing their unions. Our leaders must take action to empower child care and all other workers to join together in unions to improve their jobs.”

Please click here to read: “America, It’s Time to Talk About Child Care” by Katie Hamm, Allegra Baider, Catherine White, Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Cathy Sarri, Megan Stockhausen, Nina Perez

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202-741-6292.