Washington – Working families seeking relief from growing childcare costs could have greater access to low-cost, high-quality child care under new legislation introduced today by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), U.S. Reps Joseph Crowley (D-NY), and Lois Frankel (D-FL).

The Child Care Access to Resources for Early-learning Act (Child C.A.R.E. Act) takes important steps to address a national crisis, the exponentially growing lack of affordable childcare. In the last 30 years, average weekly childcare expenses have grown by more than 70 percent and federal support has almost nothing to offset the increase in costs.

By 2021, the C.A.R.E Act seeks to guarantee access to child care for every parent that earns up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level and has an infant and/or a toddler by increasing mandatory funding for the Child Care and Development Fund, the federal program responsible for child care funding, services, and quality control.

“Working families can longer afford child care, with the average cost of child care rivaling the cost of college tuition in many states,” said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus Campaign for Children. “This legislation rightfully invests in children and working families, and gives parents the resources they need to ensure that infants and toddlers get high-quality care that gives them a strong start in life.”

The proposed bill also makes improvement to the quality of child care by:

  • Providing parents and child care providers with adequate resources to support high quality early care and learning for children under age 4.
  • Ensuring that child care provider payment rates are set at a level that supports quality child care for children under age 4;
  • Assisting child care providers in strengthening their competencies and skills in accordance with the National Academies of Sciences Report, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8;
  • Ensuring that there is a continuum of quality early learning within states and tribes, starting with prenatal care and continuing into the early years of school.

The lack of affordable childcare for low-income families means that many parents have to juggle parenting and a career, don’t get to fully participate in the U.S. economy, and many others never reach their educational goals. Many women are forced to leave work to take care of their children, and employee absenteeism from lack of child care comes at a price of $3 billion per year to U.S. businesses.

“We commend Senator Casey and Representatives Crowley and Frankel for making the needs of children and their families a priority,” Lesley said. “And we strongly urge Members of Congress from both parties to work together to enact this legislation into law. Our nation cannot afford to exclude working families from full participation in our economic recovery and children from early learning opportunities by failing to provide access to high-quality child care.”

Read the complete First Focus analysis of the legislation.


The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.campaignforchildren.org.