Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has unveiled a plan for child care that addresses current shortages when it comes to quality child care for parents as the 2020 presidential election draws near.
This past Tuesday, Biden’s campaign introduced a plan which includes free preschool for all — a promise that lower and middle-income families that won’t pay more 7% for their annual income for child care. This also includes higher pay for caregivers and early childhood educators.
“Today, I’m releasing my plan to mobilize a 21st century care and early childhood education workforce,” Biden tweeted Tuesday. “It will ease the financial burden of care for families, create good-paying jobs with good benefits, and treat workers with the dignity they deserve.”
In a post by Medium outlining Biden’s plan, his campaign cited the ongoing coronavirus pandemic had revealed how necessary affordable and quality care is for families — many who have since struggled to balance work with caregiving after school and care centers closed. Biden also commented on how these shortages were present long before COVID-19.
“Even before the pandemic, our country was experiencing a caregiving crisis,” the campaign said. “Often, families made caregiving decisions that came with great financial, professional, physical and emotional costs. Caregivers and early childhood educators — disproportionately women of color — have been underpaid, unseen, and undervalued for far too long.”
Biden would “immediately” extend fiscal relief to state, tribal, and local governments, enabling them to retain workers and keep vital public services such as child care running as part of his plan.
To improve access to child care, Biden’s plan also proposed giving low and middle-income families two options.
Option one includes eligible families receiving a tax credit to help cover the cost of child care for children under the age of 13. Families with one eligible child who earn less than $125,000 would receive a refundable tax credit equal to half of their child care costs up to $8,000 under his plan. While families with two or more children would receive a credit of up to $16,000 while families who earn between $125,000 and $400,000 would earn partial credit.
Option two would allow low-and-middle-income families with children under 5 to forgo the refundable tax credit in favor of sliding-scale subsidies based on the Child Care for Working Families Act (CCWFA) — under this option, families with an annual income that falls below 1.5 times the median income in their state will pay no more than 7% of their income toward child care.
In addition, Biden’s plan would also grant all 3-and 4-year-olds access to high-quality pre-kindergarten. Biden claims it would not only help families save on child care costs but could also help close the school readiness gap created by systemic racism.
Biden’s plan has also called for expanding access to after school, weekend, and summer care to ensure parents who work non-traditional hours can still find affordable, quality care.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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