News & Media

RNC Virtual Event: Saving Child Care

Aug 28 2020

On Tuesday, August 25th, Sue Renner, Executive Director of Merage Foundations, moderated a webinar discussing the many challenges of child care, hearing from both parents and lawmakers. Hosted at the Republican National Convention in collaboration with Save the Children, Save the Children Action Network, and CareForAllChildren, the virtual event discussed the many challenges that parents face when trying to find high quality, affordable child care, particularly after the pandemic hit.

“You know that high quality child care provides critical early learning to children. It gives parents the opportunity to fully participate in the workforce. It also is truly the pillar of our economy. Yet, we also know that there’s tremendous challenges, both in the supply of child care and in the ability of parents to access the care,” stated Sue Renner.

Sue discussed this important issue with Dana Harvey, accountant and lifestyle blogger with two young girls, and Jessica Balk, volunteer outreach leader with Save the Children Action Network who is also a single mother and childcare provider.

Dana discussed the struggles that her and her husband went through after having their first daughter and looking for child care. She discovered that while there were some resources available for low-income families, if you don’t fall into that category, finding affordable care can be very difficult and costly. As a middle class family, Dana and her husband found themselves paying nearly 25% of their take home pay on child care, which was more than their mortgage for just one child. Since child care is primarily a private sector service, unlike K-12 and higher education, there is no tax base to help cover the cost, leaving the burden on parents.

As a single mother and volunteer, Jessica lives in a child care desert and works with parents to help them find affordable child care. In her community, located in Iowa, many families are unable to find child care and rely heavily on family members to watch their children. Since the pandemic, many child care businesses had to close their doors, dropping the availability of child care even more. This is something that negatively impacts parents and families in communities across the nation, there isn’t a city or state that doesn’t have a lack of affordable child care available for their constituents.

After speaking with Dana and Jessica, Sue transitioned the conversation to discuss how lawmakers view this issue and what they are doing. Representative Vance Aloupis is not only advocating on policy but is also the CEO of Florida Children’s Movement and is championing affordable, quality child care across Florida. As a State Representative, Aloupis has been instrumental in passing policies that provide more resources to early childhood education and providers.

Representative Aloupis then introduced Governor Brad Little of Idaho, who has been prioritizing early childhood education within his state for years. Although Idaho doesn’t required pre-K programs, under Governor Little’s guidance, they have been putting resources towards child care that not only provide a safe environment but actually prepare them for later education, putting a large emphasis on literacy. when the pandemic hit, Governor Little identified child care providers as essential workers, effectively keeping child care programs open for parents, particularly healthcare workers, and supporting child care businesses in remaining open.

Watch the full webinar here and visit CareForAllChildren to learn more about this issue, and sign the child care petition.