President Obama Features Child Care
“In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It’s not a nice-to-have — it’s a must-have. It’s time we stop treating child care as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us,” President Obama declared during the State of the Union on Tuesday.
In his speech, the President made clear that the remainder of his term will focus on “middle-class economics —helping families afford child care, education, health care, homes, and retirement.” Obama stated a general need to create more child care slots. He also proposed raising the child care tax credit from the current $1,000 per year/per child to $3,000 per year/per child, thereby putting thousands of dollars back into the pockets of working families.
Child care is a very expensive necessity for working families. In 31 of 50 states, child care costs more than public university tuition. And finding adequate child care can be just as difficult as paying for it. For example, infant care is often scarce due to the low child-to-caregiver ratio—one caregiver can only look after so many infants.
It’s very encouraging that President Obama understands these important issues and is using his office to bring attention to the needs of working families. But changing policies will take regular citizens getting educated and raising their collective voice.