Ask the PA House and Senate to Increase State Child Care Funding

General Assembly

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What is happening?
Gov. Wolf proposed a $27 million funding increase for child care. Now we need the General Assembly to support it as the state budget for fiscal year 2018-19 is finalized.

Why does it matter?
The governor’s investment would allow more families to access child care subsidies they need to work and support quality child care for children through tiered reimbursement rate increases. As a provider, you know firsthand the difference high-quality care makes in the life of a child and their family. But, you also know the child care system is significantly underfunded and we need increased investments to improve it.

We are asking child care providers and their supporters across the state to sign-on to a letter to their Pennsylvania senators and representatives asking them to support the $27 million increase in state funds.

Please sign your organization on to the letter by close of business on Wednesday, May 30! Your voice matters!

Sponsored by

To: General Assembly
From: [Your Name]

Dear Senator/Representative:

We are writing to express our strong support for a $27 million expansion of the Child Care Services line item for fiscal year 2018-19. As child care providers, we know firsthand how important high-quality care is for Pennsylvania’s children and families.

High-quality child care is an investment that yields returns for the commonwealth’s children by supporting their positive development and preparation for school success. It also provides parents and caregivers the opportunity to work, knowing they have safe, stable and enriching environments for their children. This in turn creates economic returns by increasing workforce participation and productivity. Finally, investing in high-quality child care supports small businesses that will create jobs and directly benefit local economies.

While we know all of this to be true, data demonstrates there is vast unmet need in Pennsylvania’s child care system. The recent federal bipartisan budget deal recognized child care funding should be a priority. Additional federal funds allocated to Pennsylvania, coupled with state investments, can begin to address the needs.

For instance, as of May 11 over 6,100 children are on the subsidized child care waiting list and their parents are waiting an average of almost 60 days to access the care that they need to maintain employment. In addition to families in need, our child care provider community needs more support. Subsidized child care reimbursement does not reflect the true cost of providing high-quality care or to move up to the STAR 3 or 4 designations. As for our child care staff, forty-three percent of Pennsylvania’s child care workers receive government assistance such as SNAP, Medicaid and TANF. The average hourly wage for child care staff is only $9.42. Surely, investing in the Pennsylvanians like us that are caring for and educating our youngest children deserve better.

A $27 million investment would begin to address these issues by providing:

• $10 million to serve 1,600 more children on the subsidized child care waiting list.
• $10 million to increase tiered subsidy reimbursement rates for STAR 2, 3 and 4 providers.
• $3 million to establish a pilot program to help more infants and toddlers access high-quality care.
• $4 million to continue current programs.

This funding will increase the number of high-quality child care programs available for more of Pennsylvania’s children and for more families that need to have safe, reliable care to work. The additional investment at the state level, along with increased federal child care funding, can begin to address the unmet need in the child care system.

We encourage you to make this investment a priority in budget negotiations for FY 2018-19 to help our children succeed, parents to be productive members of the workforce and our small businesses and economies to grow.

Sincerely,