What’s Next for Child Care After Build Back Better? (with Julie Kashen)

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Gloria breaks down everything you need to know about the future of child care policy alongside Julie Kashen, senior fellow and director for women’s economic justice at The Century Foundation. They get into the who/what/when/how/and why of child care reform: who is going to pay for it, what will this package include, when can we expect action, how do we get legislators across the aisle on board, why is it taking so long?!? And Julie tells the heart-wrenching story of a father who had to turn down his dream job because his family couldn’t find reliable child care. Plus, Gloria goes to her local grocery store to investigate the formula shortage.

Follow Julie Kashen on Twitter @JulieKashen. Keep up with the work of The Century Foundation at their website, tcf.org.

This podcast is presented by Neighborhood Villages, and is brought to you with generous support from Imaginable FuturesCare For All Children by the David and Laura Merage Foundation, and Spring Point Partners.

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Gloria Riviera & Julie Kashen

Gloria Riviera  00:00

So I just asked and I, alright, I’m gonna take it from here. Okay, there, I just asked where the baby formula might be. And I’m on aisle seven and I’m staring at an empty shelf. There is nothing there. They do have some of that rice stuff that babies move on to. And I see four small cans of baby formula and have some other four containers of baby formula of some other toddler formula. But yeah, just four so four people come in here tonight. I don’t know, maybe they have some in the back. But if four people come in here, they’ll be able to get it. But that’s it otherwise. I mean, I don’t even know. I would be in a panic. I would be in a massive panic right now if one of my children was relying on formula, which all of them did drink some formula for months, I guess like go to another grocery store. Hey, guys, that was me this week, just reflecting on how scary things are for so many of you out there. Worried about being able to find the formula to mix with that warm water and fill those bottles to feed your babies. I want you to know that next week we will have a conversation with Karen Beaumont from No Kid Hungry. We are going to talk about childhood hunger. And we will address this crisis in more depth that this is no one is coming to save us and I’m your host Gloria Riviera. I am so excited for today’s conversation. I get to talk to Julie Kashen. She is the Director of women’s economic justice and a senior fellow at the Century foundation here in DC. Julie, as her title suggests, is deeply knowledgeable about childcare and early education. She is the woman with the answers. How do we pay for a better child care system? Julie knows how do we reach across the aisle and get Republican lawmakers on board? She has the answer for that too. This woman is smart. But she’s also very warm. And I found her quite funny. Professionally she is accessible. She is generous. She is competent in what she knows. And she is right. Because she wants what is best for our children and our country. She has made that her life’s work. Thank goodness we all get to benefit from that decision. And thinking back about our conversation. What struck me is just how different Julie is from her own mother. And yet also how a like, Julie told me that her own mother decided to stay home and raise her for a significant period of time. Now, Julie didn’t know her own grandmother because she died when Julie’s mom was only eight years old. So Julie’s mom wanted to be there for her daughter as much as she could. And that meant foregoing a career. But from a young age, Julie knew that was not the path she wanted. She wanted to work. Julie will tell you all about this in her own words. But get this. There was a divorce and Julie’s mom had to go back to work. I can relate to that. So Julie’s mom got a job working with do you guys want to guess? Elementary aged kids. Fast forward to Julie’s own career in advocating for children? Do you see that pattern? The grandmother is no longer able to be there for her daughter. So Julie’s mom feels a driving need to be a consistent caring presence for her children. She does it but life throws curveballs and Julie’s mom went to work with kids, Julie, who said she never wanted to stay at home, has instead made a career out of fighting for kids in this country to have what they need, a consistent caring presence in their lives. A care giver. Okay, so if that isn’t the tiniest, multi-generational story that centers around care, I don’t know what is. I didn’t get a chance to ask Julie if she and her mom have ever talked about that connectivity over a cup of tea or a glass of wine. But if they haven’t, from one daughter of a single working mom to another, I hope they do. Okay, here’s my conversation with Julie. Hi, Julie.

Julie Kashen  04:37

Hi, Gloria. Good to see you, hear you, talk to you, too.

Gloria Riviera 

I know, I feel like it’s like an old friend that I get to talk to even though we’ve only come to know each other through childcare and our passion for this issue. I like to start every interview by asking what happened to you when you woke up this morning. What issue if there was one I know you have an eight-year-old son, what issue were you triaging in your head? When you woke up, you’re laughing I love it. Everybody laughs when I asked this question, I’m like, Okay, I know it’s gonna be good.

Julie Kashen 

It’s a fun and silly one, my son has decided he needs to be the first person who shows up at his second-grade classroom. And so he makes us leave earlier and earlier every single day, so that he can get into school first. So we had to leave at 8:05 school doors open at 8:30. So we just hung out. And we were first today. So he was very, very happy. So this is how my eight-year-old son gets, or almost eight gets his pleasure by being first in second grade class.

Julie Kashen 

Yeah. So we get to get that extra time together. And then I also get to see he’s kind of the mayor of the second-grade class. Like he welcomes everyone. So once he’s like first in line, he’s been like, so it’s very sweet.

Julie Kashen 

You know, it’s so funny you say that, because that happened to me as well. And when my son was about eight years old, and it was even more extreme, like if we had a 7am flight, he’s like, I think we need to leave for the airport at 3AM. Like, what? But a very good friend said to me, Well, what if you just leave early? Like, what if you just leave 20 minutes early? You know, for school? Not for the airport? Yes. And we did and watching his anxiety, because for him, it was about anxiety watching that drop. And then having this because we never as mothers have unexpected, free time, right? We just don’t have that. But we did. So we just roll up to school and be there and have a conversation at the end of the school year, he was calm enough to say let’s go get hot chocolate, like we just created time. So I love that your son is you know, kind of making your family do that.

Gloria Riviera  06:56

Oh, that is tricky. Okay, well, I like that, that’s a good logistical challenge to be triaged in the morning that even triaging just doing. Julie, tell me a little bit about the way that you grew up, how your family handled your child care what you know about that when you’re young. And what led you to this work?

Julie Kashen 

When I was young, my mom stayed at home with me. And she was, we were really lucky that she was able to do that. And that’s what she wanted to do. My mom had lost her own mother when my mom was only eight years old. And I think that, that kind of really centered that for her that motherhood was a priority and something she wanted to be able to invest in and spend time on. And so, you know, I really enjoyed and benefited from that. And she always tells me that from a young age that I would say that’s not what I wanted, that I wanted to have a career. But I was very clear on that. She also when my parents got divorced, she then had to go back to work. And so I also saw very clearly that it was a great choice that we had for a while and then our situation changed. And she was not able to be quite as flexible at that point.

Gloria Riviera  08:07

Right. I have a similar experience. But that is something to acknowledge that that was a real, I don’t know if luxury is the right word. But that was her choice. And she did it well. It sounds like.

Julie Kashen 

Yes, when she went back to work, she was a speech therapist for elementary school kids. And so she just loves being with kids. And you know, she’s very creative and craftsy, which are things that I did not inherit.

Julie Kashen 

Which kids love, right? Creativity and doing crafts, right? So then, but she noticed and she you say she would say have you, you wanted a career. And so how much of your career now is about childcare? How much of your work is about childcare? And how did you come to it?

Julie Kashen 

Yeah. So, you know, I guess she you know, as she said that I always wanted it and it really came to a head as a college student. So at the University of Michigan in the mid-90s, I had my own aha moments. And I had this vision of my high impact career, but also wanting to be a very engaged mom like she was. And I just had this moment of, oh, how can I do both of these things? So I was an idealistic college student and a political science major. And I just thought, I’ll just solve this challenge through public policy so that everyone can benefit and I’ll do it before my friends and I have kids, no problem.

Gloria Riviera 

Easy, no problem.

Julie Kashen 

So I graduated, I drove to Washington, DC and my U-Haul truck and a few months later started working on Capitol Hill and said, like, all right, I’m on my way. I’m gonna start. I got the chance to work for the late Congressman Louise Slaughter, and actually got to work on some after school legislation with her and so that was kind of my first entry into it. More than I think 20 years ago at this point, and since then, I’ve spent my career working on related issues to support, essentially mothers and mothers being able to be both engaged in work and with their children, everything from paid family medical leave to paid sick days and other related issues. And in 2014, I started working with the Make It Work campaign, we were a three-year campaign to make sure that women’s issues women’s economic issues, were front and center in the 2016 election. The idea was, we know there’s going to be a woman running for president, we want to make sure women’s issues are, you know, core and central. And I was asked as the Policy Director to come up with some bold ideas for child care that can help inform the political platform, and I started working on it, and started talking to people and it was having a really hard time that I took maternity leave, I had my son, I took my four months of unpaid leave off. And then and that was I was a consultant at the time. So it was not that they did not support paid leave. But when I came back, I was motivated. I was like, oh, my four months are over. And now what, so I started talking to experts and advocates, and we developed a childcare framework that actually ultimately was included in some of the childcare for Working Families Act. And now the bill back federal policy as well.

Julie Kashen

Wow. So when you came back from maternity leave, how did you feel reflecting on what that had been like for you?

Julian Kashen 

I had long known that, you know, the lack of paid leave was a huge problem and had really centered that in my work for a very long time, I went to work for the governor of New Jersey, Governor Corzine, and help New Jersey become the second state to adopt paid family and medical leave, like this was a very core priority for me. And I had planned so that I would be able to afford to take on unpaid leave, I had done my consulting, where I was working crazy hours, right up until my due date, so that I could you know, then use that money. And so it’s something I’ve thought about a long time, what I hadn’t thought about is, you know, when that moment ends, your travel needs to be somewhere that period lasts for a very long time, you know, it’s up through kindergarten, but then after school and summer care, you know, until they’re 12, or 13. And so it just really clicked for me that these are, you know, two pieces of the same puzzle and that the child care piece actually can have even, you know, have very significant implications, you know, economically and health wise and in terms of just women having real choices in the world.

Gloria Riviera  12:34

Right. And you recently went to the Hill, right? I mean, very a few weeks ago, to testify about this. Can you walk us through what that means? Like, where is the potential new legislation? Since build back better? I still have a hard time, like describing where Build Back Better is. Because, you know, people are like, Well, now that it’s no more and I say Don’t say that. You go to the Hill. And why are you going now? I mean, it seems like to me is an observer an unlikely time to go, when we’ve seen the slow demise of the Child Care element and early education element and build back better. So why now? What was your mission when you went there? And what did you say?

Julie Kashen 

So backing up, you know, the House of Representatives passed this bill back better bill in November, and then sent it to the Senate. And the hope was that the Senate would then pass it? Well, we do know that it has, it’s not going to pass in the way that it went through. And it really did have bold childcare policy in it. So what’s happening now is, you know, the White House and the Senate and advocates are really pushing to make sure that the childcare and preschool pieces that passed as part of build back better are included in an economic package. And it’s important that it go through this reconciliation process that only requires 50 votes. And so that’s a budgetary process. So the Senate Health Committee decided to hold a hearing to make sure that it was really clear that this is still a top priority that it is popular among members of Congress, that it has a lot of widespread Democratic support in Congress, and that we need to keep making the case for it. And so what I was able to do in my testimony was talk about what’s really needed and the fact that it is time. You know, it is a crisis moment. It has long been a crisis moment because we’ve never built the childcare system that we’ve needed. COVID kind of really pushed that over the top, and that Congress has this opportunity and really mandate to invest in a program that makes childcare accessible and guarantees it to every family including middle class families. That means they need to put in significant public funding to meet the great Need, that childcare is affordable for all families. And the proposal that has been on the table would lower cost by about $5,000 a year per family, but make it free for some, that families have maximum options that every family has the freedom to choose the childcare and early education that works best for them. And that there’s a social justice lens that addresses the diverse, inclusive, flexible, culturally competent and bilingual options for care. So that it could be a family childcare program, a faith-based program, a head start program, you know, a school program for preschool, or a center, and that that would really meet family’s needs, whether they’re in an urban setting or a rural setting. That number four, that it needs to be high quality that we need to make sure that providers are reimbursed at a level that’s going to allow them to foster the health and well-being and learning during the earliest years of foundational brain development. And finally, that we invest in the workforce. This podcast has talked a lot about how poorly paid the workforce is. And that’s because parents can’t pay more. And, you know, we’ve been asking them to write and so right now, if we put the significant public funds in, that’s where you get the money to raise compensation to invest in training and to support the workforce in the way we need, which is better for kids. It’s better for families, and it will help to address the staffing shortages that we’re seeing right now, too.

Gloria Riviera  16:26

When we come back, Julie tells me how we’re going to pay for a better childcare system stick with us. When you go to the Hill, and when you speak with politicians, you said this was something supported by many Democrats, but I know Joe Manchin Senator Joe Manchin, in his home state of West Virginia also passed universal pre-K, I think it took something like 10 years. What are you seeing from the other side of the aisle on this issue?

Julie Kashen 

Yeah, so Republicans, you know, child care has long been a bipartisan issue in that voters across both sides really support childcare. And there was recent polling by the first five years fun that looked specifically in battleground states, like Arizona, and Georgia and Nevada, and Virginia, West Virginia. And they found that 57% of Republican voters in those states said that they support a child care policy, like the one that’s on the table right now. So from a voters perspective, we really see you know, commonality across the aisle, we also saw that, you know, the last reauthorization of the program that’s in place for low-income families, the Child Care Development Block grant, was voted on a bipartisan basis in 2014. And so we’ve seen Republican support for childcare, I think there’s an understanding of the importance of the issue, the problem is that they have not been willing to put the significant funding in that is required, you know, it’s just it is clearly a market failure problem, right, parents can’t pay more early educators can’t be paid less. And so the public does need to step in with those investments. And so it’s getting everyone to come together and understand that someone is paying for it right now. It’s just that it looks like you know, parents being completely stressed and having to work overtime and not being able to spend time with their children or early educators having to also work at Starbucks, where they make more money than they do, you know, for this job that they love and want to spend their time on. So, you know, I think that there is a very good case to be made on a bipartisan basis. But things are so partisan in Congress right now that it is hard to get Republicans to support a bill that has come forth from the Democratic administration.

Julie Kashen  19:04

So what about paying for it? Who are you asking to pay for it? How do you envision that actually working? What needs to happen to make that happen?

Julie Kashen 

The proposal that’s been out there is to raise taxes on corporations and billionaires essentially. And so, you know, I think that that would be a decent solution to, you know, if you think about billionaires buying Twitter, like perhaps there could be some of that money that could instead go to helping to support our tax base, and go toward child care. And, you know, it’s a really good investment, right. It’s not just for women’s equality. It’s not just for the well-being of children. It’s not just for a more stable early education sector. There’s huge economic benefits for everyone for this I did a study through the century foundation with the Center for Economic Policy Research. And we found that reductions in business, disruptions from the lack of childcare and additional state tax revenue would go up by $60 billion annually. And that’s not even all of the economic benefit. There’s additional economic benefits, increased parental employment and from building out the sector by making them good jobs and putting money into the childcare sector. So there’s billions of dollars that we’re actually leaving on the table in economic activity that these policies would really generate.

Julie Kashen  20:39

I mean, $60 billion, you could buy Twitter for that apparently.

Julie Kashen 

Seems like a better investment.

Gloria Riviera 

Exactly, no, I am I, one of the things I learned during season one of this show was from the example in Quebec, right, where we spoke to what they had done there. And for a lay person such as myself, it was an aha moment to realize, Oh, more parents who can drop their kids off in a place that is all the wonderful things you list are then part of the workforce, and guess what, then your taxes go up, then there’s an investment that’s paid back almost in real time for the bottom line of many of these counties, provinces in Canada, etc. So what’s the sticking point? I don’t, that’s where I hit my head against a brick wall. What are the arguments that you hear for why corporations? And are you talking about a target a Starbucks, you know, a JP Morgan, whatever it is, these big name, corporations? What would taxing them look like? And what is the pushback that you’re getting?

Julie Kashen 

I don’t think there’s a lot of opposition to child care policy itself. I think that people understand that this is an economic imperative, that’s good for families, that’s good for children. I think that, you know, it’s as simple as a self-interested perspective of, you know, I don’t want to have to pay more taxes, right. I, you know, I think that, or from, you know, members of Congress who benefit very much from corporations having that money to put into their campaigns and who don’t necessarily want to support that. So I think we’re, it’s really, you know, it’s almost like apples and oranges, right? Like, we think about how these child care policies would make such a difference. And we know, you know, folks, like the Chamber of Commerce Foundation have been making this case, right? That they totally understand how important this is for businesses. And there are employers and CEOs who’ve said recently, you know, helping support my employees with childcare would be one of the most important things Congress could do right now. So there’s a little bit of a disconnect. And I think that, you know, we just need to keep remembering again, that if the choice is, you know, corporations who are paying very low tax rates right now could be putting in more, and they would actually help their bottom lines too, as well as supporting, you know, families around the country.

Gloria Riviera 

And in terms of taxing billionaires. I mean, what does that look like, from where you sit in Washington, DC, you know, you’re constantly, you know, in touch with folks on the Hill? What is the sticking point there? And am I just asking a very simple question that they don’t want to pay? They don’t want? What is the reaction that you get? You’re smiling at me? And I’m like, I’m sorry for asking such a simple question. But I’m like, I don’t please explain this to me. I don’t understand.

Julie Kashen

You know, I think that it’s very much, you. I don’t want to add to cynicism, but it’s a very cynical answer. It’s that you know, the people who have the most money have the most control, right, it’s campaigns cost a lot of money. So when there are people who can contribute the most to them, then, you know, those people who help our hopes to get elected that way, don’t want to go against their interests in that way. So I think, you know, and here’s the flip side of this, though, that I think is so interesting, that if we invested in child care in a really meaningful way, we can imagine that women will gain more wealth and will gain more political influence. Right. And so there’s a reason that some folks might not be as excited about doing that because it actually is a key tool to having women gain that political power. I think a lot about the fact that Senator Murray from Washington State is one of the leaders and she ran for Congress as a mom in tennis shoes. And she started out as a preschool teacher, right and you have, you know, Senator Elizabeth Warren is another leader on this, as you guys have talked to her about this and her MP and how she has her own story as a mother and now a grandmother, right. And so if we had more moms and grandmothers in the halls of Congress kind of leading the way, we may, you know, have an easier time doing these making these choices that we need to make. But right now, without affordable childcare, we are actually keeping a lot of women from doing those types of jobs.

Gloria Riviera 

After this break, Julie lays out the battle plan for the next few weeks in the fight for childcare reform, plus your real childcare moments. I love these the voices of the no one is coming to save us community. Those are coming up right after this. What right now, when you look on the hill, what is the next big decision? What is the battle plan? You know, in the wake of Build Back Better? Or are we still holding on to some elements of that? I think the answer to that question is yes. What’s the next big win you’re looking for from our lawmakers?

Julie Kashen  26:29

So Congress is in a five-week work period. Right now, the Biden administration has consistently been prioritizing the need to lower child care costs for families as part of their economic plan. And they are pushing that on the hill. As we talked about, the senate health committee held a hearing about to continue to shine a spotlight on how important it is that we move it forward. Yesterday, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on child care where they again talked about how important it is for the economy, for economic growth. There are the vast majority of Democratic members of Congress signed a letter to President Biden calling on him to continue to prioritize this as part of a reconciliation package. So there’s a lot of movement and momentum right now. We’re also going into this big period in May, where activists all over the country are really, you know, keeping up the drumbeat, telling their stories, making sure that members of Congress, hear from them, hear how important this is, hear how, you know, it affects their communities every single day. And that, you know, there needs to be action and there can be action. So we’re in this intense period at the moment where it’s kind of all hands-on deck and feels a little narrower, never. But to be honest, there’s still like a little bit more to it. If it doesn’t happen by Memorial Day that Congress will still be in session in June in July, or at least through July 4. So the hope is that we see progress in the next five weeks. That’s kind of the biggest hope.

Gloria Riviera  28:05

And progress would be something passed, something proposed.

Julie Kashen 

The hope is that childcare and pre-K get included in whatever the climate change prescription drug, tax reform bill is. I know, you know, Senator Murray, as the chair of the Health Committee is working with her colleagues to keep making the case and to further refine the policies to fit within this context. I don’t have the details on that. But I know, you know that any policy is going to look at the three-legged stool of affordability and access, investing in the workforce, making sure children have the high-quality care they need. And so I think that’s kind of the central the central point to it. And I think that if we get to Memorial Day, and nothing has passed, that is one more moment to be concerned. And then if we get to July 4, and really nothing has passed, then there’s some big strategy sessions that we’re gonna have to have around the country.

Gloria Riviera

table we go. Yeah, okay. Well, that that I mean, the one thing that I think is motivating is that it has felt urgent, there has been an urgency in the air around child care consistently. Really, I know everything came into sort of acute focus during COVID. But that that focus has continued and that that’s what gives me a lot of hope. I mean, are there stories that you hear you must hear more than you can count, that you have an eight-year-old now that tug on your heartstrings that you think about is like I’m going out to do this not only for you and for your child, but for the people out there who are just fighting and fighting I think about the mothers that we spoke to when they describe to me the hoops they have to jump grew to qualify for subsidies repeatedly, over and over. I mean, that’s another full-time job. So are there any stories that you keep in your heart that keep you going?

Julie Kashen  30:11

One of the things that I’ve heard a lot about is tag team parenting, where you know, a mom will work the day shift, the dad works, the night shifts, because they don’t have childcare otherwise, because they either couldn’t afford it or couldn’t find something that worked for them. And so, you know, I think about a specific story of Jessica Morrison, who is a mom’s rising member in Pennsylvania, she has a great job, she loves full time work as a social worker, her husband drives for Uber at night, and he was actually offered his what would have been kind of a dream job, but they could not find childcare anywhere, they couldn’t find what they needed. And so he had to turn down that job. And we, she told her story at the White House, actually, with Secretary Becerra from the Health and Human Services Department, and brought her daughter with her and her daughter actually, you know, spoke to the press conference and said, You know, I just want time with my family. I just want us to all be together. And, you know, and in some ways, they’re some of the lucky ones because they actually found a solution. Right? And but their solution is they don’t ever get to spend time as a family. So many single mothers who are making it work on their own, there are so many families who are, you know, jumping through hoops to get a subsidy. And, you know, I’ve also heard a lot of childcare, folks who worked in childcare, who’ve left, you know, there’s a story of someone who worked in childcare for 10 years, but when she had her baby, she left because she couldn’t afford child care for her own child. And we hear that a lot.

Gloria Riviera

too. Yeah, no, I love that story. Because it makes me of the family and the social worker, mom and the Uber driving dad, because right at the beginning of this episode, you said people are paying for it. We’re paying for a pretty crappy system right now. And this is what it looks like. So the fact that that family does not have time to, you know, proverbially sit around the dining room table together, which, like, if I read another book that tells me how important that is. Have another guilty mom moment where like, not happening in our house all that often.

Julie Kashen  32:27

Good to send you some better books.

Gloria Riviera 

But that’s not like that is the price for that family. That’s how they’re paying for it by giving up that time together. And this, you know, don’t get me started on, you know, partners in relationships, who have to give up jobs that would bring them all sorts of different kinds of satisfaction. Right? So it’s just like, it just it drives me bananas, but that’s what keeps me going. What keeps you going those stories like keeping those stories close to your heart, and, you know, ready to tap into when you feel tired by this fight?

Julie Kashen 

Definitely, I think it is all of the people who are making it work, but shouldn’t it shouldn’t have to be that hard, you know, that, like just this vision that I still have that one day, we can change this, that we can make it better, you know, 50 years ago, we got close. And I, we I don’t think we’ve been that close since then until now. And I also just see, like parents and early educators and providers and advocates and economists, like all coming together to say this is a priority. This has to happen. And it’s just it’s the stories and the activists who are really pushing this forward that make it you know, there’s just so much power and hoping that the folks saying the status quo is unacceptable. And we’re going to make a difference.

Gloria Riviera 

I mean, I just want to say thank you, Julie, for the work that you do. I feel, I feel like you’re like the girl in my high school who was so smart. It was a little bit scary to talk to you. But we’ve had a very nice conversation.

Julie Kashen  34:02

Thank you so much. And I mean, what I super appreciate is as I listened to your podcasts just I feel like I think about these things all the time. And then when I hear you say them, I’m like, oh, that’s how I should be talking about it. You just make it so clear and accessible. And just tell it like paint such a beautiful picture. So thank you for that.

Gloria Riviera 

There we go. We make a good team, right? Like I need you to be like, Okay, explain this to me, because it makes me crazy. And I don’t understand. And then I can go out and deliver. I can be like guys, I don’t know about this, but here’s what I think it means. Thank you for helping me figure out what it all means. That’s what this show is all about. Thank you so much, Julie.

Gloria Riviera 

Thank you again to Julie Kashin. Since our conversation, Julie’s sent me some updates about what’s happening in Congress with regards to child care. Senate Democrats have a new proposal and That would put between 150 to $200 billion into the early education sector, more than 100 billion of that would go to the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant Program. That is a very important point Julie makes, we can build upon the existing system we have and make it better, we do not have to start from scratch. And that approach will make it easier for legislators across the aisle to get on board. The proposal also sets aside money to help states expand access to pre-K. And this is very exciting. Raise wages for teachers, we need that. Okay, before we go, we cannot forget my favorite part of the show. Hearing from you, our listeners, our child care warriors, our no one is coming to save us community. Here are your real childcare moments from this week.

Speaker 3

Hi, Gloria. My name is Anna and I am a family childcare provider in Portland, Oregon. I’m talking to you today, just after five o’clock after a very long work day, with a lot of children suffering a lot of dysregulation, and behavior problems. I have six children in my program that receive early intervention services. So they have a lot of needs. A lot of them have suffered trauma, some of them are foster children. And some of them just have developmental delays or autism spectrum disorder, things of that nature. So managing our classroom is a lot of work every day. Plus, obviously all of my additional responsibilities as a business owner. And it’s just been very draining during COVID. I’m thankful that I have some really wonderful employees, and some of them have worked for me for a long time. But man has it cost me a whole lot of money to keep them. I’ve given everyone pretty large raises recently, I also started offering health insurance. And I have just started offering them 401K’s as well. So it’s definitely eating up like my whole budget. But it’s what I have to do to keep qualified staff, which is what I need to manage these children that have so many needs.

Speaker 4

Hey, Gloria. So I finally heard enough, nothing is coming to save us that I feel motivated enough to afford this. I’m a mother. And I’m a truck driver. Yeah, you heard that right. I’m driving a truck. No, not a pickup truck, semi-truck, a 53 foot long, 80,000-pound bullet that’s going down the highway at 65 miles an hour. Don’t worry, I have hands free. It’s not going to affect my driving. I’m safe. I’m a good person. My husband stays at home and takes care of the children. Right now we’re potty training the two-year-old, which is only a year apart from our three-year-old who’s been potty trained for over a year, which seems implausible because it doesn’t that just trained to me yesterday. Potty training, this second child is not anywhere near potty training the first child, everybody out there is like oh, it’ll get easier. The second one’s always easier. And I don’t even know if it’s easier or just different. And these are the things I think about during my 14-hour shift, driving a semi-truck, which keeps me gone more often than not, but actually pays the bills, which is his same because like two years ago, I was doing Uber and Lyft and Instacart and scratching my head bawling my eyes out every night because I can’t even pay rent, let alone regular other bills that it might take to put my children in childcare, which hasn’t happened yet. But now I have this job and I can pay bills which is freaking awesome.

Gloria Riviera

That truck driver mom Holy smokes, working 14-hour shifts, and that still doesn’t cover the cost of child care. It should not be that way. And that overworked provider who has given all those raises, you are doing the right thing. But I know sometimes doing the right thing, especially in childcare can be really hard. I’d love all of you listening to be a part of our community of caregivers. All you have to do is take out your phone, record a short voice memo, and then just send it to me at @glorialemonadamedia.com. I cannot wait to hear about what is happening in your life as a caregiver, your struggles, your triumphs everything in between. All right. We have some great shows coming up in the next few weeks. Next Thursday, I will be speaking with Caron Gremont. From No Kid Hungry. We talk about food insecurity in both children and the childcare providers. Yes as early education teachers, and how we can build a system to combat hunger. And then the following week, I’ll call up Ellen Galinsky. She is the Chief Science Officer at the Bezos Family Foundation and executive director of mind in the making. She’s going to tell me about the seven essential life skills every child should have and what parents and caregivers can do to teach them. Okay, that’s it over and out for now. I’m so happy to have been with you and I can’t wait to see you next week.


NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE US is a Lemonada Media original presented by and created with Neighborhood Villages. The show is produced by Kryssy Pease and Alex McOwen. Ivan Kuraev and Bobby Woody are our engineers. Music is by Hannis Brown. Our executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and me Gloria Riviera. If you like the show, and you believe what we’re doing is important. Please help others find us by leaving us a rating and writing us a review. Do you have your own experiences and frustrations with the childcare system? Do you have ideas for what we could do to make it better? Join the no one is coming to save us Facebook group where we can continue the conversation together. You can also follow us and other Lemonada podcasts at @LemonadaMedia across all social platforms. Thank you so much for listening. We will be back next week. Until then hang in there. You can do it.

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