Next week, the DC Council will hold its second vote on the budget, giving council members the opportunity to take greater action to address our growing child care crisis, which has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. That is why we are calling on the DC Council to take immediate action to stabilize the child care sector and pursue long-term solutions to the serious challenges that lay ahead, including putting new revenue on the table.
The educators who are the heart of our child care sector are overwhelmingly Black and Latinx women. Historically, their labor has been undervalued, thus there has not been sufficient investment. If no additional investment is made, up to 6,500 child care slots and the jobs of many educators are at risk. The Council is playing a risky game, asking child care providers to do more with less.
According to a recent survey by Under 3 DC and DCAEYC, “Ninety percent of providers projected that they will incur additional costs upon reopening, while two-thirds are concerned about having to reduce enrollment (70%) and having insufficient revenue (60%).” The good news is that there are government resources available to meet these needs. We need to DC Council to act.
The District suffers from some of the worst racial divides in education, health, and economic status, especially between Black and white residents, and among Black children and youth in particular. If we fail to invest more in the solutions that we know work, we will only continue to perpetuate discrimination and poor outcomes. And that is unacceptable.
Call the DC Council and tell them that we need bold action for child care.