RICHMOND, Va. – In case you missed it, the Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press Editorial Board this week highlighted the crucial need for investment in child care in Virginia and called for lawmakers in the General Assembly to take quick action to address the growing crisis.
Since 2018, the estimated cost of infant center-based care in Virginia has increased more than 11% according to The Virginian-Pilot. Day care centers in some areas across the Commonwealth now rival the cost of in-state college tuition. Not only have prices gone up, the waitlist for day care centers can be years long, leaving families without options. More than 75% of parents report they cannot access affordable care for their young children.
“It is time for bipartisan action to address the growing child care crisis in our commonwealth,” said Freedom Virginia Executive Director Rhena Hicks. “Parents across Virginia already lack access to safe, affordable child care, and the situation will only get worse as federal funding expires. The Virginian-Pilot is right: the General Assembly must make major investments in child care a priority right now or more and more parents will drop out of the workforce.”
Earlier this year, JLARC estimated that the General Assembly would need to invest $319 million to continue the improvements to Virginia’s child care program and maintain current levels of enrollment.
Twenty-four billion in federal COVID-relief funds to stabilize child care providers expired in Sept. 2023, with an additional $15 billion in subsidies to help families access child care expiring in Sept. 2024. The Century Foundation predicts that up to half of Virginia’s child care providers could close with the loss of federal funding.
If no action is taken, tens of thousands of families and children will lose access to care, jeopardizing their financial wellbeing and our economy.
The Virginian-Pilot: Editorial: A lack of affordable child care options harms parents and the economy
November 14, 2023
In October, a report from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission found that almost all low-income families with young children and a majority of other Virginia families cannot afford child care. Virginia families spend from $100 to $440 a week on child care, with the higher costs coming in urban areas including Hampton Roads. The report also found a shortage of child care across the state, saying that at least 140,000 more slots are needed.