On January 27th, parents, educators, students, and supporters of child care gathered on Capitol Hill to advocate in favor of affordable, and quality child care. Child care is an important part of all families lives as parents balance both a work and home life. Those who provide child care also play an important part of a child’s early development and social skills as they spend time with them in their most formative years. This key part of a families day-to-day care, however, is not always accessible to those who need it most. As child care facilities are dealing with the COVID-19 relief fund shortly coming to an end, bills introduced during the 2023 legislative session aim to advocate for policy favoring child care.
HB170, HB282, & HB167 are three of those bills that would provide funding for more child care facilities, and tax credit that would help with the cost of child care. These bills serve as a first step to ensuring both families and child care centers no longer have to worry about the cost of care. As Children played and danced around the Utah State Capitol Rotunda, parents delivered testimony in favor of such bills, and provided reminders of the challenge of working while caring for children.
One of the parents present during Child Advocacy Day was Rachael Cervantes, Director of YWCA Utah’s Lolie Eccles Early Education Center. When talking about the importance of advocating for child care, with her daughter on her lap, Cervantes expressed, “It’s important for us to advocate for a profession that hasn’t been strongly advocated for in the past”. Lolie Eccles Early Education Center closed the morning of the event to give staff, the children, and parents a part of the center a chance to be a part of the days advocacy efforts, “This gave the opportunity for our staff and families to advocate for something that is personal to all of us” Cervantes continued. Those working closely with children are acutely aware of the need for lawmakers to stand on the side of the profession, Cervantes continued “child care is so important for children’s social development and the ability of parents who are a part of our center to contribute to the community in all of the important work they do as public defenders, teachers, and so many more fields. So it’s important that lawmakers are focusing on child care as it ultimately impacts our entire economy and society”.