The evidence is clear – children who participate in high-quality programs during their early years demonstrate lasting effects in IQ, boosted academic and economic achievement, and lower incidences of childhood obesity and chronic illness. With nearly 15 million children under 6 who may need child care each day, the stakes have never been higher for families across the United States and for our economy. Economists have shown that investing in high-quality child care has proven to result in a 13 percent return on that investment, per child. Families without access to quality child care due to high cost, irregular work hours, or inadequate supply, are at an extreme disadvantage; their children and our society lose out. Help for families struggling to pay for quality child care is pivotal to supporting quality child care across the country.
Our 2018 State Fact Sheets – Checking In: A Snapshot of the Child Care Landscape – summarizes services provided by CCR&Rs, average costs of licensed and accredited child care, and the supply and demand for child care in each state. Furthermore, the report includes information related to states’ QRIS and other statewide initiatives, as well as a deeper look at the types of requests fielded and referrals offered by state CCR&Rs. In 2017, CCR&Rs served more than 443,087 families across the country. CCR&Rs across the country track types of requests they receive from families, like for care during nights or weekends, or for families who speak a language other than English. These State Fact Sheets highlight the different offerings as reported by CCR&Rs in each state, not only demonstrating the needs, but also the tireless work CCR&Rs around the country are performing to meet those needs.
Based on our findings and the ever-expanding portfolio of literature on the effectiveness and positive return on investment for quality child care, Child Care Aware® of America recommends a $1 billion increase in CCDBG discretionary funding over FY 2018 funding levels. This investment would help hundreds of thousands of children gain access to high-quality child care, support child care providers in delivering high-quality care, and better fund CCR&Rs providing much-needed services to child care programs and families across the United States. Our country must recognize the value of child care as a setting in which early childhood education is already occurring, as well as a vital support for many working families. Recognizing these values will enable our country to remain competitive in the 21st-century global economy.
Check out this year’s state fact sheets to learn more about your state’s child care landscape. Despite the historic increase in CCDBG funding, states need ongoing and consistent funding in order to make long-term improvements to child care systems that will increase access to high-quality, affordable child care for all families. Let your state and federal representatives know – expanded investments in child care lead to positive outcomes for all children, their families, and our country.