By Ben Parisi, Empower DC Child Care Organizer
On Thursday, March 17, 2011, St. Patrick’s Day, members of Empower DC’s Child Care for All Campaign and Save Our Safety Net DC came together to demand that newly elected Mayor Vincent Gray “Show Us the Green” for Child Care Subsidies.
Most of the people featured in this video, and many of their neighbors in Ward 7 and 8 supported Gray – without those wards Gray may well have lost the election. Yet many are worried that Gray will continue some of the same dangerous trends that Fenty began – including slashing the budget for child care subsidies.
The Child Care Subsidy Program is a critically important program that allows low-income families to access child care so that they can keep their jobs, enroll in school, and provide for their families. If these subsidies are cut further, parents will be left with no option but to forego employment and remove their children from quality early childhood education. Child care providers, who rely on DC’s reimbursement for serving subsidy-holders, will be left with no option but to close – as over 50 have already in the past year.
Child care like that provided by those featured in this video ensure that children are more likely to be prepared to enter school, successfully graduate high school, move on to college, and stay out of the criminal justice system. Investment in early childhood has a huge return on investment by saving taxpayer money down the line on reduced need for remedial education and pressure on the penal system.
In four years, this critical program that also employs nearly 6,000 people in DC, has been cut nearly $30 million. THE CUTS MUST STOP NOW. Send Mayor Gray the message: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to all the Child Care for All Campaign members, to Save Our Safety Net DC, and the Puppet Underground (for the great signs in this video)!!