One of the biggest hurdles for low-income families is childcare. Lack of childcare presents problems for working families. For example, if you are a single mother, it is hard to hold down a job if you don’t have anyone to watch your children. Yes, you can pay for daycare or something similar, but that is exceedingly expensive to the point wherein many areas the cost cancels out the benefit of working in the first place.
We tend to think this is a problem only until grade school, but that’s not the case. Most schools get out well before the end of the average workday. While having free childcare from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. is certainly better than nothing, the gap still leaves some families in a bind.
Kamala Harris has introduced a bill to help those families:
“To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to provide grants to local educational agencies to establish ‘‘Family Friendly School’’ policies at 500 elementary schools that align the school day with the work day to better support working families and to disseminate the learnings from these model schools so that other local educational agency’s may adopt these practices, and to establish a supplemental 21st century community learning centers grant program to support programs and activities during summer recess when school is not in session.”
The “Family Friendly Schools Act” would essentially help schools in high need areas extend programming from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during weekdays. This would, in theory, allow parents to work traditional jobs without the burden of having to find or pay for childcare.
The bill would also allow funding for organizations to provide summer programming as well.
In addition to Harris, the bill is backed by both the National Women’s Law Center and The American Federation of Teachers union. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Michael Bennet (D-CO).
Read the bill here.