YWCA believes that access to quality, affordable child care and early education is crucial for women's successful participation in the workforce. Child care and early education programs help parents obtain and retain employment and further their education, while promoting child development and school readiness. Accordingly, since 1868, YWCA has provided early childhood programs for millions of children across the United States.
Unfortunately, while women's participation in the labor force has steadily grown since the 1950s, this growth has been hindered by a lack of access to these crucial community resources and programs. For too many parents, finding quality, affordable, accessible child care and early education programs is difficult. Many families earn too much to qualify for financial assistance, yet struggle with the high cost of child care on top of meeting basic needs like paying for housing and food. Many low-income families also struggle with the additional challenge of needing care for their children during nontraditional hours such as evenings or weekends, or lacking quality care in their communities.
Child care and early learning programs, and financial assistance for these programs, are critical resources for all women, but they are particularly important for women of color who face additional compounding challenges related to racial discrimination and systemic disparities.
YWCA supports improving access to quality, affordable, and accessible early childhood programs as a means of reducing barriers to successful workplace participation by women, particularly women of color, and providing children with culturally sensitive, developmentally appropriate activities that enable them to succeed in school. To this end, YWCA supports legislation, budget proposals, and public policies at the federal, state, and local levels which improve the quality, accessibility, and affordability of child care and early education programs.