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We Need a Child Care System that Works for PA

Raise Your Voice! 

Let our state legislators know that cutting funding to the state child care system is unacceptable.

Legislators are in Harrisburg the week of 5/22 and in their home districts the week of Memorial Day. Take the opportunity to ask to speak with her/him or their legislative staff (Policy or Legislative Director).

Ask them to commit to restoring the cut and supporting a $35 million increase, and try to get a clear answer. (Let us know how it went by contacting Shawn Towey (PCCY)  at 215-805-8997 or Pamela Haines (DVAEYC)   at 215-893-0130 ext 228.)

THE PROBLEM

After the Governor’s budget proposed a modest $35 million increase for child care (most of which addresses new federal requirements and last year’s $20 million cut), the PA House passed a budget that CUT $28 million from this year’s level, and it is now up to the Senate to restore the cut and allot MORE resources, not LESS.

Every single state legislator in PA needs to hear from us that cutting child care funding is unacceptable. Whether you are a parent, provider, or an advocate for your community, you can remind our them that child care funding not only keeps our children safe, learning, and thriving, but also our keeps our families, communities, and businesses working. High quality child care is also the foundation for Pre-K.

Calling your legislators has the most impact.

Here are some other actions that will get noticed:

  1. Sending a personal letter on your organization’s letterhead
  2. Sending a personal letter as a staffer or parent
  3. If your center is near the legislator’s office, walk the children over for a visit and note how much the children have learned in your care (call first)
  4. Ask for a meeting so you can explain the problem in detail. Put together a team, including parents, to go with you.

To find your legislators and their contact information, click here.

TALKING POINTS

The child care system in Pennsylvania is severely underfunded. Further cuts will deepen the crisis, affecting working families and the small businesses that provide services to them.

  • Child care providers haven’t received an increase in their base rates from the state in 10 years, yet many continue to provide high quality care and education for all children in their care, at an average wage of $9.42/hour.
  • Underfunding affects every program, whether they are reaching for higher quality or are trying to maintain their current level under Keystone STARS.
  • Nearly 14,000 children are currently on a waiting list for services; they are eligible but not enough funds are available to serve them. These waiting lists are breaking records in the 5-county area. In Delaware County and parts of Philadelphia, children have been waiting for more than a year.

If your legislator suggests that money can be saved through greater efficiencies in the child care system, he or she lacks accurate information.  Child Care Information Service (CCIS) agencies contract with the Commonwealth through a competitive bid process to determine eligibility, which includes:

  • documenting parent income and work or training hours;
  • validating provider rates and enforcing state rules;
  • making payment to providers and tracking critical payment issues such as attendance to maximize funds; and
  • providing parent counseling to help families choose — not only on the basis of convenience, but on the level of quality and reliability, so they can meet the work demands of their employment.
  • Data show that all these costs average only about 9% of child care funding.
  • A redesigned, centralized system simply cannot be rushed by July 1; a thoughtful and efficient new system requires a year to develop.