Working parents shouldn’t have to choose between their economic security and securing quality child care for their children. Yet millions of families struggle to afford this basic need. As costs rise, parents are having to dedicate a larger share of their income to child care. Without access to quality, affordable child care, many parents—particularly working mothers—are forced to leave the workforce altogether.
Our client Karina was forced off her job as a call center representative when her employer refused to grant her a modest adjustment to her schedule to ensure that she would be able to arrive to work on time after placing her three-year-old daughter with special needs on the school bus. To make matters worse, her employer then retaliated against her by placing her on the night shift—an impossible schedule for a single mom unable to afford nighttime child care. Karina’s story is a prime example of how discrimination against caregivers and rigid work rules perpetuate economic inequality for women, particularly women of color. But her story also shows how lack of access to affordable child care can send working parents in New York on a downward financial spiral.
New York has the opportunity to become a national leader by ensuring equitable access to quality, affordable child care for all children and working families, regardless of where they live or how much they earn. Quality child care should be the right of everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected.
The Empire State Campaign for Child Care (ESCCC), of which A Better Balance is a member organization, is a direct response to budget cuts to child care funding in New York State. The ESCCC’s mission is to achieve equitable access to quality child care for all children and working families in New York State. Its current priority is to win increased funding for child care in the 2018 budget for 1) equitable expansion of the child care subsidy program; 2) protection of child care providers and workforce from the impact of rising labor and operational costs; and 3) reduction of the high number of families who currently lack access to quality, affordable child care for their children.
New York has the ability to make sure our children and families thrive by investing in child care. It’s time to make this a priority.
For more information, visit http://www.empirestatechildcare.org.