FOCAL Opposes Proposed Child Care Budgets Cuts — A Day at the State House

sophia state house 2 4-15-15

FOCAL presented the following in a Press Conference to State Legislators on April 15, 2015: statehouseCutting Quality Child Care Could Cost the State $85 Million,
Will Block Path to Success for Alabama’s Children and Families

Alabama’s Early Care and Education industry increasingly provides quality child care and, in order to benefit every Alabama resident, the industry’s stakeholders including working families, businesses, government and the industry itself must work and plan together to maintain high quality care.[1] 

QUALITY CHILD CARE IS CRITICAL TO CHILDREN’S & FAMILIES’ SUCCESS
By age 5, over 90 percent of a child’s brain is developed, making these years of life the most critical and underscores the need for safe, quality early care and education experiences for young children.[2],[3] High quality child care is necessary for working families and lays the foundation for school readiness that is necessary to grow a capable productive future workforce.

  •  Children who attend quality child care programs demonstrate stronger language, cognitive and social skills – laying the groundwork for Alabama’s future workforce by preparing upcoming generations for school and work success.[4]
  • Early learning programs, including quality child care, are important for closing the achievement gaps between lower income students and their more affluent peers.[5]
  • Quality child care enables over 200,000 parents in Alabama to go to work each day with a peace of mind knowing their children are receiving educational and learning opportunities so that parents can focus their attention on achieving their own potential and contributing to the workforce and community.[6]

EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION INDUSTRY’S ECONOMIC IMPACT ON ALABAMA
A recent report about Alabama’s Early Care and Education industry demonstrates the industry’s critical importance as an economic engine for the state.[7]

  • More than half (64 percent) of Alabama’s children under the age of six are cared for by someone other than a parent because their parents are in the workforce.[8]
  • The Early Care and Education industry has a $1.03 billion impact on the state’s economy.
  • The Early Care and Education industry is responsible for an average 24,717 full-time jobs each year.[9]

BUDGET CUTS WILL BLOCK PATH TO SUCCESS FOR ALABAMA’S CHILDREN, FAMILIES AND ECONOMY
With the state facing a significant cut for all agencies funded through the state’s General Fund and no formal legislative action to raise new revenue – the Department of Human Resources, which provides child care subsidies for working families, anticipates a 15 percent cut to the child care subsidy program that would mean:

  • Shutting down an entire part of the infrastructure of the state’s Early Care and Education industry – negatively altering the learning trajectory for almost 17,000 children.
  • Working families will face a bigger burden – families could pay up to half their weekly earnings in child care costs – just to keep their jobs.
  • The loss of nearly 3,000 jobs and cost the state $85 million – a much greater loss than the estimated $12 million or 15 percent cut to the child care subsidy program.

THE SOLUTION
In order for the state to continue leading the nation in early childhood education, Alabama decision makers must take action on meaningful revenue solutions and protect the child care subsidy program. The state’s ultimate goal should be to propel trajectories of learning through successful and proven early care and education programs, including child care, that help children and families.

Protecting the child care subsidy program will:

  • Keep paths of success open for Alabama children and families.
  • Keep nearly 3,000 child care providers employed.
  • Save the state $85 million.
_______________________________
[1] Alabama Partnership for Children, Economic Impact of the Early Care and Education Industry on the Economy of the State of Alabama, http://www.smartstartalabama.org/uploadedFiles/File/Alabama_Partnership_for_Children_Economic_Impact_Study_FINAL.pdf
[2] Reach Out and Read, In a Child’s First Five Years, http://www.reachoutandread.org/FileRepository/PolicyCasePages_lores.pdf
[3] Child Care Aware, Quality Child Care Makes a Difference, http://www.naccrra.org/about-child-care/quality
[4] Childcare Resources, Status of Child Care 2014, http://ccr-bhm.org/media/1967/2014-status-of-child-care.pdf
[5] VOICES for Alabama’s Children, 2014 Alabama Kids Count Data Book, http://www.alavoices.org/alabama_kids_count
[6] See note 4.
[7] See note 1.
[8] See note 1.
[9] See note 1.

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