Tax Credit Expansion Proposed for Child-Care Expenses
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As the cost of child care in this country continues to grow, so does the chorus of voices calling on Congress to take action.
For many working families, the cost of child care is one of their biggest monthly expenses.
Arkansas parents pay from $4,600 to $6,200 a year, per child. And lawmakers on Capitol Hill are paying taking notice.
Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate to expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.
Carla Moquin, president of the Parenting in the Workplace Institute, says that's a good start.
"A lot of parents are in a position where child care is so expensive that it makes it almost impractical for them to even work, especially for minimum-wage, low-income employees,” she says. “And so I think it's really critical on a societal scale and on an individual family scale to provide more options to these families."
Another bill in the House would increase grant money for federal child care programs.
Moquin says tax code and grants aren't the only ways families could be supported.
"We need to look at lots of options to make it workable for families,” she says. “Telecommuting options, on-site child care, making it easier for mothers to breastfeed.
“We need to look at the bigger picture and all of the different components that go into supporting families and making it possible for them to take care of their kids and have an income at the same time."
Moquin adds having access to stable and high-quality child care is also vital for life-long success for children, since the vast majority of a child's brain development happens before age five.