Take our Daughters/Sons to Work – Is there a Choice?

Yesterday, I was not paying attention and missed the “Take our Daughters and Sons to Work” day. Originally developed in 1992, the day was designed to engage young women due to research showing their decreasing self-esteem affected their school work and they were making poor life choices. Ten years after introduction, young men were added to the event knowing they would benefit too.

The last Thursday in April is the designated day to engage your child in your work life, mentor them and inspire them to think creatively about their future employment possibilities, and help them identify the importance of home and work balance. Whether taking part in the tradition or not, there are a number of families who feel their only option may be to take their son or daughter to work. Access to quality, affordable child care is critical for working families.

Child care costs continue to consume a large share of a working family’s monthly budget. In Iowa, the annual costs for an infant in center-based care costs more than annual tuition at one of our state universities. In most states, minimum wage earners would have to work full-time from January through July to cover the cost of child care in their community. For working families, access to affordable and high quality child care opportunities become more difficult to acquire.

An article, just released by U.S. News, talks about an important issue not being discussed on the campaign trail, the cost of child care. The article contrasts the college affordability and child care discussion. Understanding the need to invest in children in the early years will only help determine their success later in life.

On a webinar call this week, the presenter talked about the upcoming elections and the importance of advocacy on a local level. On a state level, decisions are made about the Child Care Assistance program and funding other important services for our kids. Currently, families earning up to 145% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) are eligible for assistance, or just over $35,100 for a family of four. Iowa hasn’t seen an increase in Child Care Assistance eligibility since 2006 when eligibility was set at 140% FPL.

If you are keeping tabs on the election process, Iowa has a primary scheduled on Tuesday, June 7th. A number of federal and state races are at stake. As the date approaches, candidates facing a primary are more eager to talk with voters. Identify an event in your area and ask the candidates running for office how they will support working families to provide access to affordable, high-quality child care.

“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.” ~ Stacia Tauscher