Increase child care assistance program

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: March 21 2014 | 11:58 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:57 am in

On behalf of families and child care providers I serve, I created a petition in support of increased eligibility for Child Care Assistance. The Iowa Legislature is considering SF 2251, which allows for school and work requirements to be combined for Child Care Assistance (CCA). It also allows for extension of eligibility from 6 to 12 months.

CCA is not welfare. It enables low-income parents to work and go to school so they can get a better job. CCA is an effective tool to get families off public assistance. This bill also ensures assistance is not taken away within months of starting work, which can force parents to leave their jobs because they cannot afford child care.

When we enable parents to work, we decrease their dependence on other forms of public assistance. Access to quality child care has long-term benefits for their children, such as lower rates of grade retention, special education placement, adolescent pregnancy, drug use and crime. Long-term economic benefits include job and GDP growth and increased tax revenues.

When evaluating the cost of expanding CCA, consider that having more parents unable to work or being forced to rely on unregulated providers will cost us far more in the long run. No matter which political party we represent, we all have a common goal of having more parents able to support their families and more children growing up to be successful, productive adults.

Sign the petition at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/tell-the-iowa-legislature-2.

Deborah VanderGaast

Tipton Adaptive Daycare

Cedar County Child Care Association

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