July 6, 2022

Since the start of the COVID –19 pandemic, early learning and child-care providers have continued to serve families across all socio-economic classes. These professionals provide valuable care needed so parents continue to go to work, and children have the proper start they need in life. Child-care providers face many challenges including a lack of increased funding and substandard wages that have existed in the industry for decades.

For an industry that cares for and educates our community’s youngest and most vulnerable children during years of critical brain development, a much more robust and immediate response is needed to address these issues now. Due to chronic underfunding, child-care providers operate on slim financial margins and unexpected expenses, a reduction in revenue can be devastating and even lead to closure.

State policy makers should help Pennsylvania families maximize the potential of the first five years by supporting evidence-based, high-quality early care, education, and health services.  Doing so will strengthen our children, families, community and our future. As part of the 2022-2023 state budget, Pennsylvania policymakers should support accelerating access to high-quality childcare for working parents by providing a wage supplement for teachers and staff through $115 million in sustainable state/federal funding. This investment will provide an increase of $2 per hour for childcare professionals to retain the current workforce and reducing turnover which negatively impacts child development and results in classroom and program closures that disrupt families’ ability to work.

As our childcare system rebuilds, Pocono Mountains United Way believes that robust state funding is imperative for a system of high-quality programs and providers that are accessible to all families.