VIDEO: Kaine Shares Stories from Fairfax City, Blacksburg on Senate Floor to Highlight Need to Address Child Care Crisis
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, who serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, delivered a speech on the Senate floor regarding the need to renew child care funding that recently expired and help families get the support they need. During his remarks, Kaine shared stories from a parent in Fairfax City and a provider in Blacksburg to highlight the detrimental consequences of the lack of affordable child care.
“We have to act to restore the child care funding that created breathing room for our providers and our families. And I stand together with my colleagues to do all we can to support President Biden’s request that we add $16 billion in child care funding at this most critical time,” Kaine said.
Kaine referenced two stories from Virginians in his speech.
Heather, a parent in Fairfax City, said: “One of the reasons my family ended up homeless was because we didn't have access to quality, affordable child care for our boys when they were little. They also lost access to programs that would allow them to be school-ready. When I was pregnant with our twins, I was hospitalized for almost 12 weeks, and we couldn't afford child care for our boys, so my husband would drop them off at the hospital so that he would be able to go to work.
“Unfortunately, without access to child care and a hospital being no place for kids to stay all day long, he ended up losing jobs, which in turn meant we lost money to provide for ourselves. We had to go on SNAP to have food, and eventually, he lost his business, and we became homeless... one of the biggest contributing factors was the lack of access to affordable child care. At the time there was not enough space in other programs like Head Start.
“Without access to affordable, quality child care, families are hurting. The lack of access to this vital service has forced families to not be able to work, go to school, or even leave kids at home in compromising positions just to be able to put food on the table…
“I forgot to include that at the time, we were considered middle class before all of this; both my husband and I are college-educated. I was working at first, too, but also had to leave my job because we couldn't afford the childcare for both of us to work. And my husband is an honorably discharged combat veteran. I meant to add this to help demonstrate how far-reaching this is and to break down myths about who this affects.”
Kristi, a provider in Blacksburg, said: “Since the pandemic, we have had to really decrease the number of families that we were able to serve because we're having such a difficult time with our staffing. Being able to pay early childhood teachers has always been a significant difficulty for us, but since the pandemic, it has been a tremendous difficulty... I think what the Senate needs to understand is that if this industry collapses, and I would say that we are very much on the verge of a major collapse. It is going to have a detrimental impact on the workforce…”
Kaine secured funding in the American Rescue Plan to help child care providers keep their doors open during the pandemic. This funding expired on September 30 and Kaine has introduced the Child Care Stabilization Act to extend it. Kaine also urged President Biden to include resources to extend the funding in his request for supplemental funding from Congress. Biden heeded that call, and now Kaine is working to get the supplemental request passed through Congress.
Additionally, Kaine has introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act, legislation that would expand access to child care, raise wages for providers, and lower costs for families by ensuring no family pays more than 7% of their income on child care. He has also introduced bipartisan legislation to develop, administer, and evaluate early childhood education apprenticeships.