Scott, Murray Reintroduce Child Care for Working Families Act

April 22, 2021
Press Release
Child Care for Working Families Act would ensure access to high-quality, affordable child care for working families and improve wages for child care workers

As originally released by the Committee on Education & Labor

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act, comprehensive legislation to address the child care crisis and ensure that working families can find and afford high-quality child care. Representative Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan joined Congressman Scott in introducing the House bill, along with 64 cosponsors. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Senator Mazie Hirono joined Senator Murray in introducing the Senate bill, along with 23 cosponsors.

Across the country, too many families are struggling to find quality, affordable, accessible child care, especially as the cost of child care has increased by 25 percent in the last decade and 50 percent of families live in child care deserts. In 29 states and the District of Columbia, infant care costs even exceed the average cost of in-state college tuition at public four-year institutions.

Child care workers, the majority of whom are women, are also undervalued, earning poverty wages, and often turning to public assistance to help make ends meet—and Black women and women of color disproportionately comprise about 40 percent of the these workers. The pandemic has only made this crisis worse—an estimated 20,000 child care centers have closed since the pandemic began, more than 1 in 5 child care workers have lost their jobs, and women have disproportionately been pushed out of the workforce because they lack child care.  

To address these challenges, the Child Care for Working Families Act will establish a child care and early learning infrastructure that ensures working families can find and afford the child care they need to succeed in the workforce and children can get the early education they need to thrive. 

This legislation would make child care affordable for working families, expand access to preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-olds, improve the quality of care for all children, and increase compensation and provide training for child care workers. Overall, the CCWFA would jumpstart our economy by creating roughly 700,000 new child care jobs, help 1.6 million parents—primarily mothers—go back to work, and lift one million families out of poverty. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder that access to affordable child care is essential for children, families, and our economy.  Without access to child care, parents cannot go to work, businesses lose workers and customers, and children miss out on invaluable early learning opportunities,” said Chairman Scott. “Unfortunately, many families and communities across the country were experiencing a child care crisis long before the pandemic. The Child Care for Working Families Act will finally provide families with relief from the high cost of child care, expand the supply of affordable options, and increase pay for child care workers.  This investment will immediately improve the lives of millions of children and families while creating new jobs and encouraging faster growth in our communities.”

“Securing affordable, quality child care and early education will not only lift up women and families, but will power the American economy as we work to Build Back Better and address the rising economic inequities facing women today,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “The Child Care for Working Families Act is a landmark step toward lowering costs for working families, providing better pay for child care professionals and boosting America’s competitiveness in the world.  Led by Chair Bobby Scott, House Democrats will continue our progress to ensure that no family has to choose between work and child care, and that parents can earn and children can learn.”

“Too often, I hear from working moms and parents across Washington state who have had to quit their jobs because they can’t find or afford child care—and for women of color and women from families with low-incomes, this challenge can be even more difficult. That not only makes it incredibly hard for women to provide for their families, or grow their careers—but it hurts our economy too,” said Senator Murray. “As we work to build back a stronger, fairer economy, we must recognize that investment in child care is essential—and that’s exactly what Child Care for Working Families does. Our legislation will ensure every working family can get high-quality, affordable child care, and that our child care educators are paid what they deserve. This is not only the right thing to do for working families, but it’s a smart investment in our children, our future, and our economy."  

“Far too often and particularly during the health and economic crises created by the COVID-19 pandemic, access to affordable, high-quality, and reliable child care has been a struggle for working families, moms, and communities of color across our country,” said Leader Schumer. “This legislation will transform American child care and early education by supporting universal preschool, improving compensation and training for our caregivers, and ensuring families who earn less than 150 percent of their state’s median income spend no more than seven percent of their income on child care. Democrats are committed to big, bold solutions, and with this bill we can address the current child care crisis and barriers facing women today.” 

“Working families must have access to child care and pre-school they can afford and trust. The pandemic has made clear than ever these services are critical infrastructure our national economy relies on,” said Chairman Sablan (NMI- At Large), Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education. “As Chair of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, making sure young children from all economic backgrounds have the opportunity to learn and develop in a safe and enriching environment, while parents are at work, is one of my primary concerns. That is why I support the Child Care for Working Families Act and will work hard to get it to the President for signature.” 

Specifically, Child Care for Working Families Act would: 

  • Make child care more affordable for working families, by creating a federal-state partnership to provide financial assistance for working families with children ages 0-13. Under the bill: 
    • No working family under 150 percent of state median income would pay more than seven percent of their income on child care. 
    • Families earning above 75 percent of state median income would pay their fair share for care on a sliding scale. 
    • Families under 75 percent of the state median income would not pay anything at all. 
  • Expand access to preschool programs for 3- and 4-year-olds, by providing funding to states to establish and expand a mixed-delivery system of high-quality preschool programs. 
  • Improve the quality and supply of child care for all children, including by:
    • Supporting child care for children who are dual-language learners, children who are experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care,
    • Creating more inclusive, high-quality child care options for children, infants and toddlers with disabilities, and increasing funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,
    • Increasing child care options for children who receive care during non-traditional hours,
    • Providing grants to cover start-up and licensing costs to help establish new providers.
  • Increase wages for child care workers, by ensuring that all child care workers are paid at least a living wage and earn parity with elementary school teachers with similar credentials and experience. 
  • Better support Head Start programs, by providing the funding necessary to offer full-day, full-year programming.


For the bill text of the Child Care for Working Families Act, click here.

For a fact sheet on the Child Care for Working Families Act, click here.

The Child Care for Working Families Act has been endorsed by: 9to5, All Our Kin, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Federation of Teachers, Bank Street College- Education Center, Build Up California, California Alternative Payment Program Association (CAPPA), California Association for the Education of Young Children, Care Can’t Wait, Caring Across Generations, Center for American Progress, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles, Child Care Aware® of America, Child Care Law Center, Child Care Resource Center, California, Child Care Services Association/T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center, Child Development Associates, Child Welfare League of America, Children’s Defense Fund, Children's Funding Project, Community Change Action, Educare Learning Network, Family Forward Oregon, Family Values at Work, First Five Years Fund, First Focus Campaign for Children, Head Start California, Indigenous Visioning, Kidango, Low Income Investment Fund, MAHUBE-OTWA Community Action Partnership, Inc., Main Street Alliance, Make It Work Nevada, MomsRising/MamásConPoder, Mothering Justice, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC), National Black Child Development Institute, National Child Care Association (NCCA), National Children’s Facilities Network, National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA), National Education Association (NEA), National Employment Lawyers Association, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women’s Law Center, New America, Early & Elementary Education Policy Program, Next100, Oxfam America, Parent Voices CA, Parents Together Action, Red Lake Nation Childcare, Save the Children, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, Start Early, The Arc of the United States, The Education Trust, Third Way, TIME'S UP NOW, UNITE-LA, United State of Women, Vote Mama Foundation, West Central Initiative, Women's Law Project, Young Invincibles, and ZERO TO THREE.

The Child Care for Working Families Act is also cosponsored in the House by: Representatives Hayes, Bonamici, Wilson, Takano, Castro, McBath, Norcross, Morelle, Wild, Courtney, Bowman, DeSaulnier, Leger Fernandez, DeLauro, Garcia, Clark, Meeks, Smith (WA), Frankel, Kaptur, Meng, Cicilline, Raskin, Cohen, Schakowsky, Speier, Carbajal, Bass, Kilmer, Larson, Brownley, Titus, Castor, Jacobs, Larsen, Scanlon, Evans, Holmes Norton, Maloney, Carson, Lee (CA), Davis (IL), Houlahan, Tonko, Tlaib, Jackson Lee, Rochester, Lawrence, DeGette, Velázquez, Lieu, Roybal-Allard, Soto, Langevin, Moore, Strickland, Vargas, Watson Coleman, Pingree, Auchincloss, Pascrell, Jr., DeFazio, Williams, Mfume, and Napolitano. 

The Child Care for Working Families Act is also cosponsored in the Senate by: Senators Schumer, Baldwin, Bennet, Blumenthal, Booker, Brown, Cantwell, Duckworth, Durbin, Gillibrand, Hassan, Kaine, Klobuchar, Leahy, Lujan, Markey, Murphy, Reed, Schatz, Smith, Van Hollen, Whitehouse, and Wyden. 

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