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Letter to the Editor, July 2, 2021: Child care is critical for working parents
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Letter to the Editor, July 2, 2021: Child care is critical for working parents

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Child care is critical

for working parents

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In November, Virginia voters have the chance to prioritize children and families by voting for candidates who also prioritize them — particularly those who support quality and affordable child care for all Virginia families by 2030. Since the onset of the pandemic more than a year ago, we have seen  how important high quality, affordable and accessible child care is to children, parents and the economy.

I understand this better than most. As a Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) advocate and as a social worker at a local school, I witness firsthand each and every day how important early childhood education and care are to a child’s growth and development. And, as a parent to five children, child care has been critical in allowing me to work over the past 20 years. Until my children were ages 2 or 3, I relied on my parents due to expensive child care options with long wait-lists. Then, when they became a bit older, I found care options similarly expensive and limited. The pandemic now has caused an entirely different set of child care obstacles for me and countless other families. Affordable child care programs have been cut due to the pandemic. And, with my parents no longer a backup option, I had to rely on my teenage children to babysit their siblings while attending their own virtual classes so that I can go to work.

Virginia’s children and parents – such as myself – need better options. Our policymakers must prioritize early education and care so that our workforce, economy and, of course, our children – our future – can thrive.

Join me in advocating to our 2021 candidates. What could be more important?

Laura Smith.

North Chesterfield.

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