Advocacy Tool

Infant-Toddler Child Care Sample Op-Ed

Writing an op-ed in your local newspaper is an effective way to get the attention of your community and urge policymakers to Think Babies on child care.

Use the following example to advocate for affordable, high-quality child care. Be sure to personalize the text and make it relevant to your community! For more information on how to write an op-ed, click here. If you’d like assistance submitting an op-ed to your local paper, email us at policycenter@zerotothree.org.


Example: Families Need Affordable High-Quality Child Care for Babies

Under the best of circumstances, it’s hard enough for parents to juggle a job while raising young children. Having safe, stable, and nurturing child care is the key that allows so many families to make it all work. But with quality child care largely unaffordable or otherwise unavailable, too many families do not have the child care they need.

[INSERT PERSONAL STORY HERE IN A FEW SENTENCES. ARE YOU A WORKING FAMILY? HOW MANY CHILDREN DO YOU HAVE IN CARE? HOW DID COVID AFFECT YOUR CHILD CARE/NEED FOR CHILD CARE? ARE YOU A CHILD CARE WORKER? HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC AFFECTED YOU AND YOUR PROGRAM?]

Having access to quality, affordable child care is critical to families throughout [CITY AND/OR STATE]. Child care feeds a baby’s growing brain, building the foundation for the development necessary for them to thrive as adults. It also prepares babies for future learning and success, leading to better cognitive and communication skills, expanded vocabulary, and improved social and emotional skills.

And child care isn’t just important for children. In 2019, 61 percent of infants and toddlers had mothers in the workforce. But in order to work, parents need to know that their babies are well taken care of. Safe, quality child care gives them the peace they need to focus on their work and provide for their families. In fact, child care has a tremendous benefit to our financial system, creating a total economic impact of nearly $100 billion per year.

For too long, child care has been difficult to access, especially for those who need it the most. Infant and toddler care costs more than college in 30 states and the District of Columbia, and many families with low-incomes can’t benefit from the current child care tax credit. Even if they did, the maximum tax benefit doesn’t come close to the actual cost of care. Despite the high cost of infant care, few families receive financial assistance for it. Only 4.2% of infants and toddlers in families with low-or moderate-incomes are served by the federal Child Care and Development Fund.

COVID-19 and the subsequent economic crisis have made it even more difficult, if not impossible, to obtain high-quality, affordable care. As a result of the pandemic, many providers were forced to close, unable to make the economics of providing child care work. Those who stayed open are dealing with long months of under-enrollment and increased costs related to keeping young children safe and healthy. Child care providers aren’t getting the support they need from our elected officials.

As the child care system rebuilds, we cannot go back to what it was. Robust public funding is imperative for a system of high-quality programs and providers that are accessible to all families. I strongly urge [INSERT ELECTED OFFICIAL HERE] to invest in this critical system and provide high-quality, affordable child care for working families during the hours they need it, and child care providers with the support, training and compensation they need to do their important work. The current and future workforces of [STATE], and our local and national economies, depend on it.

[AUTHOR’S NAME, TITLE AND ORGANIZATION (IF APPLICABLE)]

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