Low hanging fruit. Ripe. Ready to be picked. Easy to reach. Social or political ‘wins’ most folks can get behind and that don’t have many cons.
In today’s economy, our lowest hanging fruit is childcare — basic facilities (or homes) that offer children of low-to-moderate incomes a safe place to learn and socialize.
My 3.5 year-old godson (GS) is bright, inquisitive, and active. As a middle class godparent, I want him to learn in a pretty building that keeps him engaged and pushes him to new heights. In my neighborhood, that type of childcare costs $1200+ A MONTH.
That is a mortgage payment and far exceeds what his mom can afford. Though highly educated, my GS’s mom has been in-between jobs for some time. She has forged ahead, kept her LinkedIn account updated and secured several short-term jobs that have carried her from month-to-month.
My GS’s mom applied for childcare assistance and even secured a temporary position that provided a childcare subsidy. Neither of these opportunities panned out leaving my GS home with his mom.
Many public school districts no longer offer programs like early head start or full day preschool. When you can find a half-day preschool program, you have to also find (and pay for) a childcare facility that picks up/drops.
Our first step to getting more families back to work is ensuring that every child had access to safe, affordable, full-day childcare! This is low-hanging fruit we all should be able to pick. Until this happens, families like my GS’s will continue to teeter on the line between poverty and the middle class.
We need ALL moms to raise their voices in support of mom’s like my GS’s.
If you agree, contact your elected officials. Ask them to:
- Increase funding for early childhood education
- Support efforts to raise quality standards for childcare facilities
- Bring back programs like early head start and full-day preschool.
Also, make sure you’re registered to vote and turn out to support candidates on November 4th! If we raise our collective voices for all families to have basic access to quality, affordable childcare we can begin to pick this low hanging fruit and bring in an amazing harvest – more children ready to learn and more parents back to work!
This blog is cross-posted at MomsRising.