Providing child care aid offers future benefits
During the 2021 General Assembly session, House Bill 2206 passed, expanding child care assistance to families in need, and the action should be applauded. However, while the expansion of child-care assistance will help many families, this bill is time-limited and only will last until the end of July 2021, which is a mistake.
Continued funding is needed for universal child care, particularly for low-income families. First, the disruptions caused by the pandemic will not be gone by July. By extending assistance, parents who might have been laid off due to the pandemic will be able to seek employment and attend work without the stress of financing child care.
Second, funding for child care is an investment in our future. Children who engage in early childhood education programs are able to develop their social-emotional skills and increase their kindergarten readiness, which in turn decreases their likelihood of becoming a future school dropout, and increases both long-term mental and physical health outcomes.
We must recognize the long-term benefits of providing subsidies for child care, especially during COVID-19. Continued funding will improve long-term outcomes for at-risk children and will provide economic benefits as the youths become successful members of society.