For Immediate Release: May 3, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) has introduced legislation to create an entitlement to the states to provide quality child care to low-income working families. McDermott’s bill would address the challenge faced by millions of low-income working families who are struggling to find and pay for stable, high quality child care – a problem that has been compounded by insufficient federal and state funds for child care.
“The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, has said that the low-income parents should be required to work in order to receive the federal benefits that are intended to prevent them from falling through the cracks into poverty,” said McDermott. “But many of these parents can’t work because they can’t get help in paying for the child care they need due to budget shortfalls, and there are long waiting lists in many states for child care assistance. My legislation creates an entitlement program that requires states to provide child care assistance to all eligible low-income families. This will ensure that millions of low-income parents can work to establish a better life for their children by working and/or getting the education needed to move up the economic ladder.”
Research shows that child care assistance helps low-income parents attain reliable child care they need to get and keep a job. Today, only 1 out of 6 children eligible for child care assistance receive it due to federal and state budget cuts. Twenty-two states have waiting lists for their child care assistance program.
McDermott’s bill, the “Ensuring Child Care for Working Families Act” (H.R. 5188), would guarantee that states provide subsidized child care for all low-income families whose incomes don’t exceed 200% of the federal poverty line. Child care assistance would also be contingent on the parent working or participating in an education or training program.
“My primary concern is ensuring that low-income parents have access to quality child care so they can join the workforce and create better opportunities and life circumstances for their families. In Washington state, there are more than 46,000 children that receive child care assistance, which allows their parents to work and/or go to school while knowing that their children are being properly taken care of,” McDermott explained. “My bill would ensure that child care funding is no longer subject to possible reductions because of budgetary shortfalls, and guarantee that no eligible low-income working parent is denied access to child care programs.”
McDermott has been a longtime advocate for child-welfare issues and been successful in authoring laws to help children and jobless low-income Americans. He introduced the legislation with Representatives George Miller (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA), John Lewis (D-GA) and Gwen Moore (D-WI).
Follow McDermott on Twitter: @RepJimMcDermott.