Letters to the Editor

Voters want to hear about child care policy

In a May poll by Selzer & Company, 64 percent of Iowa voters indicated they would be favorably impressed if candidates made child care assistance for working families a major element of their agendas.

Why? Because the landscape of child care in our state increasingly is not working for families, while the number of kids that need care remains extremely high.

According to the Census, three-fourths of Iowa kids under the age of six have all their available parents out of the home and in the workforce. Yet the Center for American Progress estimates only nineteen percent of our low-income children that are eligible for child care assistance, to help offset the high cost of care, are actually being served by this program. And Child Care Resource and Referral of Iowa has found that over the last five years, we’ve lost nearly half (forty-two percent of our child care providers – with that number is still on the decline.

A major reason is that providers lose money when they accept assistance because it’s not reimbursed at the current market rate.

When families can’t access child care, our kids miss out on crucial educational opportunities to prepare them for school and life, and parents struggle to participate in the workforce. The federal government has a role to play in these issues, and voters are waiting to see concrete steps to resolve this crisis.

Out on the caucus trail in Iowa, our presidential candidates must make child care a priority.

Jill Applegate

Every Child Matters

Des Moines

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