FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, DC – May 19, 2020 – In response to the release of DC Mayor Bowser’s budget proposal, Ronald Jarrett, Coalition Director for Under 3 DC, stated:
“We applaud Mayor Bowser for keeping the budget for child care subsidy at the same level as last year. However, this budget doesn’t take into account the very clear and present reality of COVID-19 and what it will take to ensure and maintain safe environments for infants and toddlers. Without the assurance of safe learning environments and trusted mental health supports, parents and guardians will be unable to return to work. Therefore, safe and quality child care is essential to the District’s economy and warrants full public investment.
“By not seeking new revenue options to close the gap between the District’s many needs and the budget constraints, the Mayor’s budget proposal falls short in meeting the needs of working parents, child care providers, and early childhood educators. Parents cannot work without access to safe child care and many rely on the consistent and trusted support of a home visitor to navigate crises. Meanwhile, our small businesses community of child care operators is facing a financial crisis that could lead to a loss of more than 20% of the District’s child care. Early childhood educators–already among the lowest-paid workers in the District before the pandemic and deserving pay commensurate with the difficulty and skill of their work, will yet again struggle to make ends meet when they return to work, without sufficient public investment.
“To ensure a successful reopening where we emerge a wiser, stronger, and more thriving District, we call on the DC Council to protect the viability of the child care sector in their budget revisions and to remedy budget cuts to physical, mental, and behavioral health supports. At a time when families, especially Black and brown families, are experiencing more health challenges and trauma than ever, we must make bold choices that will ensure a truly whole and just recovery.”
About Under 3 DC
Under 3 DC, a broad coalition of parents, early educators, advocates, community and business leaders, gets ready to create the most forward-reaching early childhood campaign in the nation. The objective is clear: care for DC littlest residents by improving the quality of childhood education infants and toddlers receive as well as building a skilled, experienced, and fairly compensated early education workforce.