Making the case for subsidized child care

Petula Dvorak wrote an excellent column in today's Washington Post that makes a compelling case for why the city must continue to invest in subsidized child care for low-income families, particularly young, single mothers. Without child care, the women she profiles would not be able to work and support their children. 

And as Dvorak points out, even women with higher incomes often pay more for child care than they earn, as she did--essentially paying for the privilege of working. In this economy, we need to ensure that working parents on the verge of poverty have what they need to hang on and keep going through these tough times. If they lose their jobs, they may end up needing more public assistance, or worse, they could end up homeless. 

DC Action Executive Director HyeSook Chung spoke to Dvorak about the importance of child care subsidies, which allow community-based centers to continue serving low-income families. As she points out, subsidy rates have not risen since 2005. 

Thanks to your calls and emails and the testimony of our High 5 partners, the DC Council restored $1 million for child care to the FY 2011 gap-closing budget. (We are still working to find out how much of that will go toward subsidies -- some may go to professional development and other supports for child care.) It's still not enough to cover the costs of high-quality early care and education, but it does make a difference. 

We heard from a handful of you who did make those calls and emails.  These are the kinds of notes that make our day. Here's what one supporter had to say:

Dear Ms. Chung, 

Just to let you know,  I wrote a letter to City Council concerning the last (for this year) budget cuts of social services, with suggestions where they might make cuts. 

Of course,  I prefer that they not cut any of the programs, and certainly not programs effecting the homeless (I work with adults, only);  HOWEVER, knowing that cuts will be made,  I asked that they not cut programs effecting children; especially homeless children, poor children, and childcare programs. 

I am sure all of our letters helped... even though I was not present at the Council meeting. 

Keep up the good work, and have a blessed day ! 

We will -- and you do, too, Paula! Keep up the fight!