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The original item was published from 5/7/2021 4:48:08 PM to 5/22/2021 12:00:00 AM.

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News & Town Board Reports (gblist)

Posted on: May 7, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Congressman Jones pushing for child care funding & sidewalk on Dobbs Ferry Rd

US Congressman Mondaire Jones was thanked at the Lois Bronz Childrens Center in Greenburgh for his proposed Universal Child Care and Learning Act and for pushing for a sidewalk on Dobbs Ferry Road

I joined Congressman Mondaire Jones today at the Lois Bronz Childrens Center to support his proposal of the  Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act, a comprehensive and bicameral bill that will ensure that every family has access to high-quality, affordable child care and early learning opportunities by establishing a network of federally-supported, locally administered child care options.  I also thanked the Congressman for advocating for a federal grant to build a sidewalk on Dobbs Ferry Road near Knollwood Road.  Route 100 B is a heavily trafficked state road that sees about 10,000 daily vehicle trips. About a mile of the road between 100A and Route 119 has no sidewalk.  Part of that will be constructed in 2022 by Brightview Senior Living, which is building senior housing at 289 Dobbs Ferry Road. The federal funding, if approved, will help cover the rest. The Congressman is pushing hard for a million dollar grant to the town.

The Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act would have lasting positive effects, not just on children and families, but on the economy at large. A recent study from the National Women's Law Center and the Center on Poverty and Social Policy found that providing affordable, high-quality child care to every family that needs it would increase the number of women with young children working full time by 17%, narrow the pay gap between women and men, and increase women's lifetime earnings by nearly $100,000 on average, with a corresponding increase in their savings and Social Security benefits.

Lack of access to high-quality, affordable child care prevents parents from fully participating in the workforce, holding them back from career and educational opportunities and placing a drag on our entire economy. Lack of affordable, high-quality care also means many children in the U.S. start kindergarten without the skills they need to reach their full potential.

"Today, in more than half the states in America, a year of child care costs more than a year of in-state college tuition," said Representative Jones. "In Westchester County in my district, center-based care for an infant costs $21,000/year -- nearly the entire annual income of a family living at the federal poverty line. Our childcare system is deeply broken, and those who can least afford it are paying the highest price as a result. If we want a country, and an economy, that works for all Americans, we need universal child care. We need the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act. Our bill would transform child care as we know it in America by making it free of cost for families at or below 200% of the federal poverty line and capping costs at 7% of household income for families making more. As we work to Build Back Better, advancing universal child care is essential to ensuring an equitable and just economic recovery for all communities, which is why I'm proud to introduce this critical legislation."

The legislation would fund a system of locally-run, affordable, and high-quality child care programs inspired by the bipartisan Comprehensive Child Development Bill of 1971, which was vetoed by President Nixon. The lawmakers' proposal builds on the successes of both the federal Head Start program and the U.S. Department of Defense military child care program. 

The Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act:

  • Ensures universal access: This legislation provides a mandatory federal investment to establish and support a network of locally-run Child Care and Early Learning Centers and Family Child Care Homes so that every family, regardless of their income or employment, can access high-quality, affordable child care options for their children from birth to school entry.  
  • Guarantees affordability: Families below 200% of the federal poverty line (about $53,000 for a family of four) could access these child care options at zero cost. Families with higher incomes would pay a subsidized fee on a sliding scale based on their income, as in the military child care program. No family would pay more than 7% of their income for these public child care options.  
  • Invests in child care workers: The legislation ensures parity by requiring that wages and benefits for child care workers be comparable to those of similarly-credentialed local public school teachers, and invests in worker training and professional development modeled after the military child care program.  
  • Includes pre-Kindergarten educational services: The network of Centers and Family Child Care Homes would provide pre-K curriculum and educational services for children before they enter kindergarten. This legislation would also incentivize states and cities to expand their investments in early childhood education.  
  • Builds on existing programs: The legislation builds on the successful federal Head Start program to create a universal system for families that cannot access Head Start services, while preserving the Head Start program for families eligible for those services. It also maintains the Child Care and Development Fund to help low-income families access other care options, including extended hours and afterschool care for children up to age 13.  
  • Establishes Universal Child Care without increasing the deficit: After accounting for the economic impacts of this legislation, Moody's Analytics estimates that the program would cost the federal government approximately $70 billion per year or $700 billion over 10 years. Senator Warren's proposed Ultra-Millionaire Tax is projected to raise more than four times that amount of revenue over the same period. Consequently, if Congress funded this program using revenue from Senator Warren's proposed Ultra-Millionaire Tax, the program would not increase the deficit.

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