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Child Care Call in Day
2/4/2004

Hundreds of Thousands of Families are Waiting for Safe, Affordable Child Care!
CALL OR E-MAIL YOUR SENATORS WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 4TH!

For two years, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) – our nation’s main source of support for low-income families who need help paying for child care has not been reauthorized (or renewed).  Over this same period of time, there have been no increases in child care funding.  Thousands of families are now on long waiting lists for child care assistance, facing the prospect of turning to welfare or making unsupportive or potentially unsafe child care arrangements for their children.  These parents want to work and support their children, but need help finding and paying for quality child care that will allow them to get and/or keep a job.

The Senate Finance Committee, responsible for both the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program renewal and the guaranteed funding levels for child care, has passed legislation that includes only $1 billion in additional guaranteed dollars for child care over a five year period—far short of what is needed. An estimated 430,000 children from low-income working families could lose assistance by 2008. The bill also raises the weekly average number of hours of work participation by parents with a child over six from 30 hours to 34 hours; and for parents with a child under six, from 20 to 24 hours.

You can help!
The TANF/child care bill may reach the Senate floor as early as February 2004.  Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), along with several senators—including Senator Dodd (D-CT), Senator Alexander (R-TN), Senator Hatch (R-UT), and Senator Bingaman (D-NM), will offer an amendment when the bill reaches the Senate floor to add an additional $6 billion in child care funding.  Low-income working families need this commitment from Congress!

Sample Message:
As an Episcopalian, I urge you to co-sponsor and strongly support Senator Snowe’s amendment to substantially increase funding for child care when the Senate considers legislation to reauthorize the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Without help in paying for child care, low-income working families cannot get or keep a job.  Safe supportive child care not only helps them work but also ensures that their children get a strong start so they can be ready for school.  If significant new child care funds are not made available, fewer and fewer low-income families will get the help they need.  States will be forced to continue to cut back eligibility for child care assistance, increase co-payments for parents who do receive help, and cut back on reimbursement rates to already low-paid child care providers.  Please help the children and families in my state by voting “Yes” on the Snowe amendment.

Executive Council February 2002, “support[ed] reduction of domestic poverty and call[ed] on the U.S. Congress and Administration to support federal programs that value not only reducing caseloads, but offering dignity and opportunities for the working poor to move out of poverty.”

Please contact Senators at 800-270-0309 on February 4, 2004 and urge them to co-sponsor and strongly support Senator Snowe’s amendment to substantially increase funding for child care when the Senate considers legislation to reauthorize the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and the Child Care and Development Block Grant.



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