In a recent op-ed in the Asheville Citizen-Times, Kit Cramer, United Way board member and President and CEO of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce shared her support for HB 574:
While relief funding has been helpful in keeping child care centers open during the pandemic, long-term changes are needed to build a more sustainable, resilient system upon which working parents—and, therefore, businesses—can depend.
HB 574 would do several things with the two most prominent being: increasing subsidy rates to 2018 standards and; raising the floor of the rates to the statewide average.
We agree with Kit that childcare is an essential infrastructure issue for local businesses and families.
Advocacy Alert: Your Voice Is Needed
The following information comes from our friends (and funded partner) at Children First/Communities In Schools:
Our state legislators are writing the state budget now – will you ask them to increase the child care subsidy reimbursement rate? Here’s a sample script you can use when leaving a message for your legislator:
Hello, my name is _____ and I live in _______ County. I am calling to request Senator _____ support including House Bill 574 in the state budget. Our child care providers need an increased subsidy rate to stay open and serve more children & parents going back to work after the pandemic. Thank you for your service to our state.
Below are three key WNC Senators to contact – call at least one and all three if you have time:
- Senator Ralph Hise - (919) 733-3460
- Senator Deanna Ballard - (919) 733-5742
- Senator Chuck Edwards - (919) 733-5745
Feeling nervous about calling? Here are some tips:
- You will most likely leave a voicemail or talk to the legislator’s assistant. They will take your message and where you are calling from. You don’t have to know details about the bill or be an expert – just deliver the message to support House Bill 574.
- If you have a child in child care (or struggle to find child care) and feel comfortable sharing, add that in your message. Legislators are often moved by personal stories.
- Take a deep breath and remember that this is how democracy works best – people speaking up to elected leaders to support important issues. Your voice is important – make it count for kids!
Want to know more? Here’s a deeper dive on House Bill 574:
Currently, child care subsidy market rates are based on data from 2015 and vary widely across the state. This is the money that a provider receives for serving a child that has a child care voucher. Depending on what county, star rating, and age of the child served, the difference in monthly payments to providers can be well over $300 per child. Providers can’t make ends meet with these inequitable rates. House Bill 574 uses the most recent 2018 data and then creates a statewide subsidy market rate floor that closes the unfair disparities in monthly payments. Providers across the state will have the money they need to continue serving children using child care vouchers and better support the high costs of operating quality child care and attracting quality teachers.
Check out these two blogs:
Read House Bill 574:
Really want to be an expert on market rates? Check out this report: https://www.ncjustice.org/