Do Something NOW! The Fiscal Cliff and Child Care

The “Fiscal Cliff”!  The “Fiscal Cliff!”  If you have been around any media at all, you've been hearing about this impending doom.  Sometimes it feels a bit alarmist, like Chicken Little running around telling everyone the sky is falling.  It is, however, a reality that needs to be handled by our leaders.  If it is a reality that needs to be dealt with by our leaders, it is a reality that needs to be addressed by those leaders’ constituents - YOU and ME! 

MAKE THE CALLWe can’t let these cuts just happen to us.  We have a voice and we need to use it.

If you are on any child care advocacy mailing lists, you are bound to have gotten an email that today is National Contact Congress Day.  So do it!  
It feels like our one little phone call won’t be heard and that template email won’t be read but I recently learned something from Grace Reef at Child Care Aware of America.  She explained that everyday our representatives’ office is required to log every single call/email/fax/text/letter that is received about all advocacy issues.  After they are logged they are ranked, by volume, and given to the representative.  That representative typically will pay attention to the top three issues on that list.  You know what that means?  

The hundreds of thousands of child care providers, center directors, and parents contacting our representatives to tell them not to cut child care can put our issue at the top of our representatives’ list!  Get children on the top of the list and contact congress today!   

What's At Stake?If congress allows automatic cuts as we head over this “fiscal cliff” the First Five Years Fund explains what will happen:

 An 8.2 percent cut to Early Head Start and Head Start means:

•      100,000 children lose access to educational opportunities and comprehensive services

•      Classrooms and even entire centers close

•      As many as 20,000 staff are laid off

An 8.2 percent cut to the Child Care and Development Block Grant means:

•      80,000 children lose child care assistance

•      A $187 million single-year reduction to a funding stream that currently serves only 18 percent of eligible children and families

(First Five Years Fund, 2012)

TOOLS and MESSAGESThere are a variety of tools or messages.  JUST DO IT!  Make sure our children are first on the list!

Child Care Aware of America

  • Message: “Don’t Cut Vital Programs for Children & Families! Child care is critical to strengthening the economy! Parents can’t work without it!”
  • Take action with their template letter and easy to use contact your congressman/woman form.  


First Five Years Fund

  • Message: “As Washington seeks solutions to the fiscal cliff, we encourage lawmakers to reach a grand bargain that reduces debt in a balanced way while strengthening the economy in the short- and long-term. Investing in quality early childhood education is the way to accomplish both goals.”
  • Take action with their toolkit to contact your representative with their message and get even more involved by contacting media in your area 


The Children’s Defense Fund

  • Focuses on all children in poverty, not just child care. 
  • Message: ”…Be Careful What You Cut. We need to invest in children today to prepare them to be the drivers of America’s economy tomorrow.”  
  • Instructions and easy links to tell your congressman to "Be Careful What You Cut"

References

Child Care Aware of America. (2012, Novmeber 28). Action Center. Retrieved from Child Care Aware of America: http://capwiz.com/naccrra/issues/alert/?alertid=61683001&PROCESS=Take+Action

Children's Defense Fund. (2012, November 27). CDF Action Alerts - 911 for Children. Retrieved from Children's Defense Fund: http://cdf.childrensdefense.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=30201.0&dlv_id=28861

First Five Years Fund. (2012, November 27). Fiscal Cliff Toolkit. Retrieved from FirstFiveYearsFund.org: http://www.ffyf.org/content/fiscal-cliff-toolkit

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Samantha Marshall, M.A.

Samantha is, just like you, excited to make a difference in our community and our world. With a Master of Arts degree in English Literature, you might ask how she found herself building and writing for a website focused on child care. From 1995 through 2001, Samantha started her career working for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) sponsors which introduced her to the importance of non-profits, community and quality child care. Her experience with Sponsors, State Officials, and Family Child Care Providers left a great and lasting impression. Later in her career and her most recent position at SAGE Publications, an academic publisher, was as a product manager for a new online resource! During this time many of Samantha's passions collided. A love for the written word, children and the proliferation of knowledge as well as a fascination with the resources the internet gives us, building a community for child care on ChildCareInfo.com is the perfect way to make the difference she wanted to. Needless to say, she is very excited to be an active part of creating and building ChildCareInfo.com.