Child care providers, parents and families across the country are marking, “A Day Without Child Care” on Monday, May 9, 2022. This day of action, sponsored by the national organization Community Change Action, aims to highlight the need for dignified, worthy wages for early childhood educators, equity in child care and affordable child care for all families.

As an organization, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association acknowledges the power and importance of this day of awareness.

Importantly, “A Day Without Child Care” is fresh on the minds of parents, children and providers due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The child care infrastructure has long been fragile due to a myriad of complex issues stemming from a lack of resources that have diminished available care across Wisconsin, particularly in our rural communities. Of course, we know the pandemic only made this dire situation significantly worse.

COVID-19 also propelled issues surrounding accessible, affordable child care into a brighter spotlight than it ever gained before. Days without child care have shown the public at large the broad, sweeping ripple effect that lack of stable care can have. Child care providers and programs are absolutely essential for a stable, functioning society and economy in the service of young children’s development, families’ ability to work and communities’ capacity to thrive. With attention now focused on this field, resource allocation must follow.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, the state received federal relief funding for child care. During these various rounds of funding, the Evers administration proposed plans for the funds, which were then approved by the Wisconsin State Legislature. This has resulted in more than $800 million in federal funding into child care initiatives aimed at stabilizing child care programs and supporting the child care workforce. The funding enabled the vast majority of child care programs to stay in business.

Continued advocacy for long-term funding is essential and we need to keep the momentum of broad awareness and the importance of public funding at the forefront as we move ahead. The next year in particular will be critical in advocating to sustain and grow funding support for child care in Wisconsin and the country, and advance a future that supports providers, young children and working families.

So, on A Day Without Child Care, we ask all those affected by the challenges presented in the early care and education field to share your stories with us at Raising Wisconsin. We will help elevate your critically important voices in the continued push for transformational change in child care.

Are you a child care provider? We want to amplify your voice and stories from the field.

Are you a parent or caregiver of young children? Tell us about your experiences accessing care in your community.

Are you a business owner or economic leader? Tell us how business productivity is impacted due to lack of child care supply in your region.

Are you a community leader? Tell us about the ripple effect of child care on the entire community.

Let’s move toward a future where child care providers are well compensated and respected for their incredibly hard work, where all children are afforded access to high-quality child care, no matter their zip code or family income and, where communities can thrive with robust early care and education infrastructure to support them.

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