Clark rolls out Citizen Cosponsor website as nationwide call to action

Business leaders, advocacy groups, and labor unions announce support as Citizen Cosponsors

CAMBRIDGE, MA — Today, ahead of Mother’s Day weekend, Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (MA-5) announced the launch of her Affordable Child Care Agenda. Speaking to the Associated Industries of Massachusetts’ Annual Meeting in Boston, she underscored the urgent need for transformational investments in child care to advance three objectives:

  • AFFORDABILITY: Ensuring every family can afford quality care for their children.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: Ensuring every family can find nearby, available child care in their community.
  • FAIR WAGES: Ensuring every early educator receives a just, living wage.

“Across the country, the cost of child care is too high, caregivers are in too short supply, their wages are too low, and classroom slots are too hard to find,” said Democratic Whip Katherine Clark. “That’s why I’m launching the Affordable Child Care Agenda: a reimagining of the way our economy works for working families. This is a call to action for every American — from boardrooms and union halls to classrooms and every level of government — to join together and demand that we unleash our country’s full potential by solving the child care crisis. ”

Whip Clark called on supporters — ranging from business owners and union leaders to parents and caregivers — to back the Affordable Child Care Agenda as Citizen Cosponsors. Major organizations have already announced their support: 

“Associated Industries of Massachusetts and its 3,400 member companies are pleased to support the Affordable Child Care Agenda. Affordable child care is a necessity if Massachusetts is going to address the labor shortage that continues to challenge our Commonwealth. It is also a necessity if Massachusetts is going to meaningfully close the gender and racial equity gaps in the workplace,” said Brooke Thomson, President and CEO of AIM.

“Whip Clark is a champion for child care, and we’re thrilled to see her leading efforts to make child care a top priority for Congress. The launch of the Affordable Child Care Agenda is a bold call to action that seeks to bring people across the country together to build a child care system that works for everyone,” said Whitney Pesek, Director of Federal Child Care Policy at the National Women’s Law Center. 

“America’s moms enthusiastically support Democratic Whip Clark’s Affordable Child Care Agenda,” said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director and CEO of MomsRising. “It’s exactly the right approach to helping solve our country’s child care crisis, which is causing great harm to moms, families, businesses and our economy. The dual focus on making child care affordable and strengthening the child care workforce is essential. Moms are enormously grateful for the ways Whip Clark is building support in Congress for smart solutions.”

“We wholeheartedly echo Rep. Clark’s urgent call to save our child care system. Right now, the lack of affordable options means working parents must often choose between their jobs and families. This is an unsustainable path for our economy and is unacceptable in the richest country in the world. Rep. Clark’s plan to increase access, while ensuring providers have the wages they need to support themselves, will help us finally correct this injustice. We are proud to support her plan, and we encourage others to join this urgent call to action,” said Lee Saunders, President of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME). 

“We appreciate the leadership of Democratic Whip Katherine Clark in lifting up the urgent need of child care and early learning. Across the country, families with young children are struggling to find and afford quality child care. They need support, and they need it now. This agenda will help ensure child care remains a top priority and we look forward to working with Congressional leaders on advancing actionable solutions to ease the strain on working families and help ensure children have access to safe, quality early education that sets them up for future success,” said Sarah Rittling, Executive Director of First Five Years Fund.

“Unfortunately, a significant number of child care providers are paid poverty-level wages while at the same time parents struggle to find and afford child care. This impacts parents’ ability to work and harms our economy. The Affordable Child Care Agenda along with sustained federal funding increases can help us create a better future for families, particularly families with low incomes and families of color who experience the greatest disparities in accessing and affording care,” said Stephanie Schmit, Director of Child Care and Early Education of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

"NAEYC is proud to support the Affordable Child Care Agenda,” said Daniel Hains, Managing Director of Policy and Professional Advancement at the National Association for the Education of Young Children.“Young children and their families thrive when they have access to high-quality child care and early learning opportunities and the support of a diverse profession of highly qualified, well-supported and well-compensated early childhood educators. We are committed to working with policymakers at all levels in shaping policies that center the experiences and expertise of our diverse field; acknowledge early childhood education as a public good; and support equitable access to affordable, high quality early education opportunities for families across the country, while compensating educators in line with the value of the complex, rewarding work they do. We encourage families and educators across the country to join us in supporting this important effort."

"A transformed childcare system is a keystone of poverty abolition, not only for women and care workers but also for our next generation. It will take all of us coming together to make this possible. We are grateful for Whip Katherine Clark’s Affordable Child Care Agenda and her call to action centering our communities in the fight for an economy where everyone can thrive. We can build a better future for our children and for the women–mostly women of color–who shoulder so much but have been shut out of progress for too long," said Dorian Warren, Co-President of Community Change Action.

"Affordable child care is essential to ensure every child gets a strong start in life. That's why Save the Children is proud to support Whip Katherine Clark's Affordable Child Care Agenda and its core principles of affordability, accessibility and fair wages in the child care sector. By launching this agenda, Whip Clark continues to be a champion for children and families. We are grateful for her leadership and call on Congress to unlock the funds needed to implement this agenda. Investing in our children's care is investing in all of our future," said Roy Chrobocinski, Managing Director of Domestic Policy at Save the Children

"The Child Care for Every Family Network includes more than 1,500 state and national organizations, families, and child care providers working together to win universal child care," said Erica Gallegos and Andrea Paluso, Co-Directors of the Child Care for Every Family Network. "We applaud Whip Clark’s passionate leadership and commitment to building and fully funding a national child care system that actually works for our kids, families, providers, and economy. Guaranteeing child care for every family and good wages and benefits for providers is essential to advancing racial, gender and economic justice for all of us."

“Every family deserves affordable, accessible child care. This requires investments that reflect the true cost of care, including support for providers to effectively sustain programs and provide culturally affirming care, family sustaining wages and benefits for the vastly underpaid early childhood education workforce, and eliminating barriers to accessing care for families. This is especially important for families addressing multiple caregiving needs, such as care for aging adults and people with disabilities alongside care for young children. The elements of Whip Clark’s agenda are critical for securing child care for every family who needs it," said Jaimie Worker, Director of Public Policy at Caring Across Generations.

“The nation’s child care system is in crisis. Families are facing increasing costs and child care providers are closing classrooms due to staffing shortages and other strains on the system,” said Patricia Cole, Senior Director for Federal Policy at ZERO TO THREE. “Addressing our nation’s child care challenges is a key priority for families across the country, and we are grateful to Whip Clark for recognizing that everyone—businesses as well as families —has a stake in a reimagined child care system that can feed a baby’s growing brain and build the foundation for their long-term development.”

Throughout her career, Whip Clark has championed efforts to fund and prioritize child care as critical economic infrastructure. 
Amid COVID-19, she helped secure over $50 billion in federal relief funding that kept the care economy afloat and enabled working families to get through the harshest days of the pandemic. She is currently fighting to advance the Child Care Stabilization Act, which would extend this vital relief funding and deliver $16 billion over five years.
During her seven years on the Appropriations Committee, Whip Clark increased funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) by almost $6 billion and bolstered Head Start funding by $3 billion. 
Since the start of the 118th Congress, Whip Clark has sat down with parents and child care providers in New Jersey, Virginia, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, California, and her home of Massachusetts. These discussions have underscored the brutal impacts that America’s child care crisis is having on families, educators, and the economy as a whole.

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