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Governor Cooper Leads Group of Governors to Urge Congress to Invest in Child Care

NORTH CAROLINA, June 13 - Governor Roy Cooper has led a group of governors in calling on Congress to protect current levels of funding for and increase recurring federal investment in child care as they develop the budget for Fiscal Year 2024. Governors from North Carolina, Colorado, Hawaii, Wisconsin, New Mexico, New Jersey, Washington, Kansas, Rhode Island and Illinois sent a letter to Congressional leaders advocating for the need for more federal support for quality child care.

“Quality child care is a triple play – it provides children with a strong start and frees parents to work, enabling employers to hire them,” said Governor Cooper. “We urge Congress to make these critical investments to support our families, economy and future.”

Child care makes it possible for parents to work and employers to hire, while giving young children a strong foundation to learn and thrive. Congress provided one-time funding for child care during the pandemic, but as it ends, the need for increased recurring federal investment in child care is critical.

Almost half of all working parents say the number of hours they can work has been compromised by lack of child care options, and one fifth say they have had to leave the labor market entirely. Sixty percent of rural Americans live in a child care desert, areas with an insufficient supply of licensed child care or areas with more than three young children for every licensed child care slot. The average rural family now spends 12 percent of their income on child care.

Many child care centers are struggling to keep their doors open, and many child care teachers have left the field. Nearly 90,000 fewer people are working in the child care industry today than in February 2020, resulting in a 9.7% national decline in the size of the child care workforce. One of the biggest drivers of the decline is low pay for child care teachers.

The governors called on Congress to take bipartisan action to make this recurring investment in child care to support children and the economy.

Read the letter.

 

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