So Far, Child-Care Industry Left Out of Senate Reconciliation Package
Thursday, August 4, 2022
Child care advocates say there is a big hole in the reconciliation package being considered by the U.S. Senate.
Support for the child care industry is not yet part of negotiations on a bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act, which does include provisions to address climate change and the cost of health care.
Gabriela Quintana, senior policy associate for the Seattle-based think tank Economic Opportunity Institute, said the industry is in dire straits.
"It's really disheartening that once again we have to beg for some attention to these really important issues that are so closely correlated to our economy and our recovery from COVID and other things going on," Quintana observed.
Earlier versions of President Joe Biden's Build Back Better framework, which has been scaled back significantly in the Inflation Reduction Act, included provisions to support families and child care workers. Washington state has lost child care providers since 2017, despite an increase in the number of children, according to Child Care Aware of Washington.
Quintana argued one area policymakers should zero in on is pay for people in the industry, who often make poverty wages.
"Given how fragile the system is, I think we really need to focus on child care teacher wages to ensure that they are sticking to the profession that they love and that they want to do," Quintana asserted. "They're just not able to earn the wages and so a lot of them are leaving the industry to go get other jobs."
Quintana noted some child care teachers leave for jobs in public school instead. The Inflation Reduction Act could get a vote as soon as this week.
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