Support Child Care – Tell Delegates to Vote YES on HB 4797

From the Legislative Action Team on Children and Families: 

Tell your legislators that WV families need child care. Tell them to Vote YES on HB 4797.

       On Wednesday, parents and child care providers from across the state traveled to the State Capitol for Child Care Day at the Legislature. We are asking for lawmakers to vote yes on HB 4797 and help solve the child care crisis in West Virginia.

       Right now, the cost of child care is out of reach for many of our state’s families. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the annual cost of child care in West Virginia for an infant is nearly $9,000. Child care for two children — an infant and a 4-year-old — costs more than $16,000 per year. That’s higher than the cost of in-state tuition at Marshall University or West Virginia University. As a result, one parent often makes the difficult choice to set aside their career and care for their children, straining household finances.

       Even if a family can afford child care, much of our state is a child care desert. Many corners of the state have no child care providers, while others have limited availability and long waiting lists. Statewide, nearly 26,000 West Virginian children are unable to access child care

       These numbers represent real people. Their parents are moms and dads who want to work to provide for their family, but need access to affordable child care to do so. This is why child care workers are sometimes called “the workforce behind the workforce.” Lack of access to affordable child care is the most significant barrier to improving our state’s workforce participation rate.

       This is the reality for a lot of families across West Virginia, but it doesn’t have to be.  

       Right now, child care centers are paid for families who receive child care assistance based on attendance – i.e. only when and if a child shows up for care. If a child care program has families who receive publicly funded child care, and they are absent for one reason or another (like they get sick…which every parent knows happens ALL the time, even before the pandemic), they don’t get the reimbursement funding for those kids. 

       This can make for an unstable budget. Meaning it could hurt their business. And if it happens enough, they can be forced to close. And that’s exactly what’s happening. Child Care providers are stuck between a rock and a hard place and, without additional support, it is impossible for them to be there for families. 

       Families can’t work without child care. Child care providers can’t continue to operate in the red financially. Something’s gotta give!

       On Thursday, the House Health and Human Resources Committee will consider HB 4797 that changes reimbursement from attendance to enrollment basis. 

Send this to a friend