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Senator Hassan Discusses Cutting Costs for Families by Investing in Child Care

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan today discussed the need to strengthen access to affordable child care as part of her efforts to lower costs for families and to strengthen the economy during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing.


To watch Senator Hassan’s questioning click here.


Lowering Child Care Costs


Senator Hassan spoke about high costs that families are facing, including for child care.


“Families across the country are struggling with rising costs, including the high cost of child care,” said Senator Hassan. “Right now programs like Head Start and the Child Care Development Block Grant program help a relatively small number of families, but most middle class Granite Staters with child care needs don’t have access to these programs. The lack of access to safe, affordable child care is keeping some parents out of the workforce, exacerbating our workforce shortages and hindering economic growth.”


Julie Kashen, Director of Women’s Economic Justice and Senior Fellow at Century Foundation, discussed the importance of giving parents support and finding programs that work for them, helping states grow their local supply of child care programs, and ensuring that those programs are high-quality.


Child Care in Rural Communities


Senator Hassan noted that she has heard from parents across New Hampshire about the difficulty and expense of finding child care, including in rural communities.


“There are many rural areas around the country, including in my home state of New Hampshire, where families do not have access to high-quality early education programs,” said Senator Hassan. “This is in part because of a limited supply of child care centers and because of difficulty filling staff vacancies.”


Rhian Evans Allvin, Chief Executive Officer of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, in response said that “The conundrum of child care that we talked about today is even harder in rural communities. So you’ve seen, not only the lack of access, but the lack of access for early childhood educators to higher education… We always hear from rural communities that they feel as though they are left out, that they are left behind – and it’s true, that is the case, that is what they’ve experienced. And creating this floor of quality expectations and creating a floor of financing that says ‘we’re with you. We’ve got this even if these are tiny programs that have trouble making ends meet. We will be there as partners for you.”


Early Intervention for Children with Special Needs


Senator Hassan also discussed the importance of early intervention for young children with disabilities, which is critical for their overall development and success. The Senator recently introduced a bill to restore full funding for educational and early intervention services for children who experience disabilities.