Child Care Assistance
Over the past several weeks I've been working on an answer to what has become a child care crisis that impacts not only our Iowa families but also our economy. Early in August, I aired a story about how 25% of the people in a recent survey quit their jobs because childcare ate up over 70% of their weekly take-home pay. Add to that the fact that in Iowa there are actual "child-care deserts" where working parents must travel up to two hours to find reliable child-care services.
In addition, if parents can not afford or find an accredited child-care center, they find alternatives and often, as we've seen so many times over the past year, the outcomes can be tragic.
It's time to create a system that fixes these issues for not only working for families but also child-care providers and the overall health of our economy.
If Iowa were to alter our state-funded child care assistance program and increase the eligibility from the current ceiling of $37,337 for a family of four to 200% of the federal poverty level or $51,500 it could do a number of things:
Increase working families self-sufficiency;
Increase worker productivity by easing their stress;
Increase care center income so child-care can become profitable.
Of course, you will hear that Iowa can't afford such a program. That's simply not true.
When we place more value on our working families than giving huge tax breaks to businesses, paying millions of dollars in fines due to workplace discrimination and giving for-profit managed care organizations unnecessary and obscene raises we can then afford to fix what is clearly broken.
It's time to fix our child care crisis for the working families of Iowa.