Eleven Parents Represent Local Families at National Policy Symposium

Parents will meet with policymakers on Capitol Hill to voice concerns and advocate for quality child care during Child Care Aware® of America’s National Policy Symposium

ARLINGTON, Va.,– Eleven parents from across the country were chosen to represent local families at the National Child Care Policy Symposium hosted by Child Care Aware® of America, which will be held April 10-13, in Washington, D.C. At the Policy Symposium, parents will have the opportunity to meet with their Members of Congress and their staff on Capitol Hill to share child care concerns and advocate for affordable, quality child care for all children.

“We are thrilled to have eleven parents from nine different states attend our Policy Symposium,” said Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., Executive Director of Child Care Aware® of America. “By attending the Symposium and voicing their concerns, they are educating Members of Congress who have the ability to strengthen the quality of child care.”

Parents attending this year’s Parents @ Symposium program represent nine states including California, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Today, nearly 11 million children under age 5 are in some type of child care setting every week. On average, children of working mothers spend 35 hours every week in child care. Studies repeatedly have shown that quality child care helps children enter school ready to learn.

For more information about Child Care Aware® of America’s policy Symposium, please click here or contact Tracey Schaefer at 703-341-4148, tracey.schaefer@usa.childcareaware.org.

Child Care Aware® of America, is our nation’s leading voice for child care. We work with more than 600 state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to ensure that families in every local community have access to high quality, affordable child care. To achieve our mission, we lead projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, undertake research, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about Child Care Aware® of America and how you can join us in ensuring access to quality child care for all families, visit us at www.usa.childcareaware.org.

Parents want affordable, quality child care!

Affordable, quality child care is something every family is looking for. Whether parents need child care Monday- Friday, 9-5 or just a few days a week in the evenings, safety and affordability is at the top of every parent’s mind. Without that peace of mind, parents cannot go into work focused, the safety of their children will always be a distraction.

In 2011, the average annual cost of full-time child care for an infant in a center ranged from about $4,600 in Mississippi to nearly $15,000 in Massachusetts. These fees for an infant exceeded annual median rent payments in 22 states and the District of Columbia. With the cost of care so high, many parents believe they are receiving quality care, which is not necessarily the case.  Many parents logically assume that background checks are required for licensed child care providers. The reality is that the logical assumptions of parents far exceed federal and state laws.

Only thirteen states require staff hired to work in child care centers to have a comprehensive background check: a fingerprint check against state and federal records, a check of the child abuse and neglect registry and a check of the sex offender registry. Not to mention, most states have only minimal training requirements– with some having none.

The video above showcases the skyrocketing cost of child care. Parents are looking for alternative ways and many times will sacrifice safety for cost. Parents should not have to sacrifice anything to afford quality care for their children.

We are Looking for Parents!

We are currently recruiting parents for our Parents @ Symposium program! Parents @ Symposium is all about parents sharing their personal stories related to child care on Capitol Hill. This helps Members of Congress understand why child care policies need to be strengthened so all families have access to affordable, quality child care that promotes the healthy development of children. Parents @ Symposium  is a partnership between Child Care Aware® of America, Child Care Resource and Referral agencies and parents who come together for one common goal: to strengthen the quality of child care nationwide.

Since 2009, Parents @ Symposium has brought nearly 100 parents to Capitol Hill to share their child care stories with policymakers.

Parents @ Symposium participants take part in advocacy training at Symposium – to be held April 10-13, 2013 in Washington, D.C. – and many return home to become advocacy leaders in their states and communities. Last year, 15 parent advocates from 12 states met with staff at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including Deputy Secretary Bill Corr and Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families George Sheldon.

More information about the Parents @ Symposium program, please check out our website or email Sara Miller at Sara.Miller@usa.childcareaware.org or Michelle Noth at Michelle.Noth@usa.childcareaware.org.

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