Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark (MA-5) joined U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA), U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), local residents and advocates for a forum on working families.
The forum, hosted in Cambridge, is part of a national listening tour designed to gather input for a White House summit on June 23. Each Member advocated for policies that provide women with the economic opportunities such as equal pay, paid sick and maternity leave, raising the minimum wage and reducing student loans debt.
During the forum, Clark emphasized the concern for millions of working families who count child care as the single highest cost they face. Women are especially impacted by a lack of access to affordable, quality care. Making up two thirds of all minimum wage and tipped earners, women are disproportionately impacted by the scarcity of affordable, quality child care. Clark cited that for the 2 million women in America’s restaurant industry, the average amount spent on child care is 35% of their income.
Clark also stressed the critical necessity for quality care for children under the age of three. Children of this age have astonishing brain development, with millions of synapses forming every second and that is why Clark believes quality care for this age child can have powerful, long term dividends.
“Infants and toddlers are our youngest learners,” said Clark. “Quality child care during the first years life can make a significant difference for both working parents and children. The bill I’m filing this week gives states guidance and flexibility to use the best practices in caring for young children and help increase the capacity and quality of child care networks and providers."
Clark believes legislative solutions are urgently needed to ensure quality care for the millions of infants and toddlers in the care of someone other than their parents each week. Clark announced that she will introduce a bill on Tuesday to address the need to strengthen a system of quality, affordable child care for the millions of families who need it in order to continue working. Her focus on improving the quality of care for infants and toddlers will also improve work opportunity for child care professionals.
Clark will address the House on Tuesday to introduce her bill and advocate for support.
Submitted by the office of U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark.