BREAKING: President Obama Announces Landmark Child Care Proposal

Fresh off the State of the Union, President Obama announced a landmark proposal to help all working families with young children afford child care.

The full Fact Sheet from the White House on the new child care proposal is copied below:

FACT SHEET: Helping All Working Families with Young Children Afford Child Care

“In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It’s not a nice-to-have — it’s a must-have. So it’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or as a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.”

– President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015

Helping working Americans meet the needs of their jobs and their families is a key part of the President’s plan to bolster and expand the middle class. Access to high-quality child care and early education not only promotes a child’s development, but it also helps support parents who are struggling to balance work and family obligations. A safe, nurturing environment that enriches children’s development is critical to working families and is one of the best investments we can make in our economy. Yet today, a year of child care costs more than a year of in-state tuition at most colleges – putting a significant strain on parents.

Ensuring that children have access to high quality and affordable early childhood programs can help children prepare for school and succeed in later life while strengthening parents’ ability to go to work, advance their career, and increase their earning potential. Research shows that money spent on young children is an effective investment, yielding benefits immediately to parents and for many decades to come for the children. For example, the President’s Council of Economic Advisors’ report on the Economics of Early Childhood indicate that investments in high-quality early education generate economic returns of over  $8 for every $1 spent.

Today, President Obama outlined his plan to make affordable, quality child care available to every working and middle-class family with young children. His plan includes:

  • Making a landmark investment in the Child Care and Development Fund that helps every eligible family with young children afford high-quality child care.
  • Tripling the maximum child care tax credit to $3,000 per young child.
  • Creating a new innovation fund to help states design programs that better serve families that face unique challenges in finding quality care, such as those in rural areas or working non-traditional hours.

Two years ago, the President called for a continuum of high-quality early learning for America’s children – including support for children and their parents beginning prenatally with evidence-based home visitation for young children and new and expecting parents and continuing through high-quality preschool for America’s 4-year olds. Over the past two years, the federal government, states, philanthropists, and business leaders have invested nearly $3 billion in high-quality preschool and early education. Today’s announcement builds on these continuing efforts to make high-quality early education and child care available for all. These investments to expand and strengthen child care and early education programs complement the Administration’s other efforts to help working families, including offering workers the opportunity to earn paid sick and family leave, a higher minimum wage, and equal pay for women.

To read more about the proposal, check out the full fact sheet at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/21/fact-sheet-helping-all-working-families-young-children-afford-child-care

 

 

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Quality, Affordable Child Care Highlighted in President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union

Last night, President Barack Obama made child care a front and center issue in his State of the Union address. The need for quality child care was the first issue mentioned by the President in addressing ways to move America forward.

Our most recently released Parents and the High Cost of Child Care Report reveals that working families continue to grapple with astronomical child care costs and lack of quality options ( http://usa.childcareaware.org/costofcare).

Here’s the excerpt from the President’s remarks on child care quality and affordability:

“Today, thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives. Wages are finally starting to rise again. We know that more small business owners plan to raise their employees’ pay than at any time since 2007. But here’s the thing – those of us here tonight, we need to set our sights higher than just making sure government doesn’t halt the progress we’re making. We need to do more than just do no harm. Tonight, together, let’s do more to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every American.

Because families like Rebekah’s still need our help. She and Ben are working as hard as ever, but have to forego vacations and a new car so they can pay off student loans and save for retirement. Basic childcare for Jack and Henry costs more than their mortgage, and almost as much as a year at the University of Minnesota. Like millions of hardworking Americans, Rebekah isn’t asking for a handout, but she is asking that we look for more ways to help families get ahead.

In fact, at every moment of economic change throughout our history, this country has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances, and to make sure everyone gets a fair shot. We set up worker protections, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to protect ourselves from the harshest adversity. We gave our citizens schools and colleges, infrastructure and the internet – tools they needed to go as far as their effort will take them.

That’s what middle-class economics is – the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. We don’t just want everyone to share in America’s success – we want everyone to contribute to our success.

So what does middle-class economics require in our time?

First – middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change. That means helping folks afford childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement – and my budget will address each of these issues, lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year.

Here’s one example. During World War II, when men like my grandfather went off to war, having women like my grandmother in the workforce was a national security priority – so this country provided universal childcare. In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It’s not a nice-to-have – it’s a must-have. It’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us. And that’s why my plan will make quality childcare more available, and more affordable, for every middle-class and low-income family with young children in America – by creating more slots and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year.”

Prior to the speech last night some of the proposals were released in greater detail, including the proposal around the child care tax credit.  To read more about the proposal, check out our Policy Blog on it here: http://policyblog.usa.childcareaware.org/2015/01/20/president-to-announce-new-initiatives-to-make-child-care-more-affordable-in-tonights-state-of-the-union/

Child Care Costs Front and Center at SOTU

When President Obama discussed Rebekah and her family and their difficulty in affording child care, shared with many Americans, he mentioned an issue that affects families regardless of geography or income.

What we know is that child care is a major expense in family budgets, often exceeding the cost of housing, college tuition, food, and transportation.  Unreliable child care also hurts business.  Lack of child care options lead to employee absences, costing businesses $3 billion annually in the US.

In 2013, in 30 states and the District of Columbia, the average annual average cost for an infant in center-based care was higher than a year’s tuition and fees at a four-year public college.

In Minnesota, which President Obama specifically cited child care costs in comparison to both mortgage and tuition, the cost of child care for an infant in a child care center averaged almost $14,000 per year, for a 4-year old it averaged over $10,000, and $10,468 for average tuition and fees at a public college*  For Rebekah and Minnesotans alike, there is a 33.7% difference between cost of college and cost for infant center-based care.

This past year has seen unprecedented steps forward toward providing a safe, quality setting for our children, with a bi-partisan, bi-cameral child care bill becoming law.  While we’re pushing forward on quality, we must not ignore that families across the country, regardless of geography or income, struggle to pay for child care so that they can go to work.

Quality, affordable child care provides critical support to our nation’s workforce and is one of the earliest learning settings our children will enter.

President to Announce New Initiatives to Make Child Care More Affordable in Tonight’s State of the Union

Tonight, January 20, 2015 at 9PM Eastern, President Barack Obama will deliver the annual State of the Union address.  President Obama’s State of the Union address will focus on middle-class economics and provide some new proposals to help families offset the burden of child care costs.

Some of the proposals included in the upcoming State of the Union have been released prior to the speech, including a proposal around the child care tax credit.  From the President’s fact sheet on the proposal:

“Making Child Care, Education, and Retirement Tax Benefits Work for Middle-Class Families

Simplifying and Expanding Child Care Tax Benefits

With the cost of infant and toddler care rivaling the cost of college in many states, the average child care tax benefit of $550 falls well short of what is needed to provide meaningful help to working families. The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and child care flexible spending accounts are also unnecessarily complex, often requiring significant paperwork and advanced planning for families to receive the full benefits.

The President’s tax proposal would streamline child care tax benefits and triple the maximum child care credit for middle class families with young children, increasing it to $3,000 per child. The President’s child care tax proposals would benefit 5.1 million families, helping them cover child care costs for 6.7 million children(including 3.5 million children under 5), through the following reforms:

  • Triple the maximum Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) for families with children under 5, increasing it to $3,000 per child. Families with young children face the highest child care costs. Under the President’s proposal, they could claim a 50 percent credit for up to $6,000 of expenses per child under 5 – covering up to half the cost of child care for preschool age children.
  • Make the full credit available to most middle-class families. Under current law, almost no families qualify for the maximum CDCTC. The President’s proposal would make the maximum credit – for young children, older children, and elderly or disabled dependents – available to families with incomes up to $120,000, meaning that most middle-class families could easily determine how much help they can get.
  • Eliminate complex child care flexible spending accounts and reinvest the savings in the improved CDCTC.The President’s proposal would replace the current system of complex and duplicative incentives with one generous and simple child care tax benefit. 

The President’s child care tax proposal will complement major new investments in the President’s Budget to improve child care quality, access, and affordability for working families.”

The full fact sheet can be found here:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/17/fact-sheet-simpler-fairer-tax-code-responsibly-invests-middle-class-fami