This year, more American voters than ever before know how much child care matters.
If that wasn’t clear to anyone before this year, the coronavirus pandemic made it so. 84 percent of surveyed voters say child care is an essential service, and know the sector deserves much more support and attention from the government. The media’s listening, too — child care has seen a huge boost in coverage during this election cycle.
But how have the politicians responded?
With only a few weeks to the presidential election, it’s important you know how child care stands on the ballot. Down below, I’ll lay out an overview of how the two major candidates, Democratic nominee Joe Biden and incumbent Donald Trump, have pledged to support the child care sector through their policy. After that, I’ll give you some resources on how you can cast your vote safely and securely.
To be clear, I’m not trying to tell you to vote one way or another here — and campaign promises don’t always become real policy, unfortunately. This is just to help you get you up to speed on what this election could hold for child care.
Having said that, let’s dive in.
In the run-up to this election, Joe Biden’s stance on child care seems to have echoed the voices of Democratic politicians such as Senators Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, who have called for massive reforms and support packages to the child care sector.
This July, Biden’s campaign announced a $775 billion plan to revamp the US caregiving system, including elder care, disability care, and of course child care. $325 billion of that money is earmarked for child care.
Here’s how Biden’s campaign promises to help child care:
Trump’s campaign website has no information about specific policies to support child care in the coming term. His ‘Promises Kept’ website mentions child care once, referencing his 2019 funding increase to the Child Care Development Block Grant.
So, it’s hard to get a concrete picture of any support to the child care sector if Trump wins another term. But in evaluating how his administration would serve child care in the next four years, it’s also worth looking at how his administration has supported the sector during his first term.
Trump recognized the need for strengthening American child care back in 2016 while campaigning, promising to increase the availability of child care and to make it more affordable for families. Since taking office, however, these policies have not been enacted, and child care has not been a focus of his administration in any significant sense.
Even as proposed policy, Trump’s position on child care has drawn criticism from child care advocates as well as bipartisan policy researchers. In 2017, after the Trump administration outlined its tax code reform to support child care, the Tax Policy Center found that the proposals would disproportionately benefit wealthier families:
“Our analysis finds that about 70 percent of benefits go to families with at least $100,000 and 25 percent of benefits go to families with at least $200,000. Very few benefits go to the lowest income families who are likely to struggle most with paying for child care,” the report writes.
If you haven’t made your voting plans yet, it’s time to get that settled — and fast.
First, you’ve got to be registered to vote. If you’re not yet registered, or you’re not sure, you need to act quickly. Depending on your state, you may have already passed the registration deadline — but if there’s still time, you should do that today.
Go to vote.org to get a quick overview of what you need to get registered, and when you need to do it. Just click your state’s name for more resources.
Once you’re registered, you’ve got a few options for voting. Generally speaking, you’ve got three choices:
How this process works for you, and what options you have, is going to depend a lot on where you live in the US.
Getting all this sorted takes a bit of time, but it’s important. The New York Times has put out this simple, interactive voting guide that will guide you through the process. Plus, you can read some tips for voting easily and safely right here.
Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.