Affordable, quality child care is a vital resource for working parents and for children. However, it is currently incredibly difficult to find in Virginia and the COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation worse.
Due to COVID-necessitated reduced class sizes and an already limited number of facilities that provide care for children under 3 in Harrisonburg, finding a place for child care is no easy task. My family moved to Virginia in early June of 2020 and was not able to get a spot for our 1-year-old son until the end of August, despite getting on the list at the quality child care center by our house in March. We were fortunate that our work schedules were flexible enough to allow us to share child care responsibilities for our infant son, but that is not true for so many parents who have had to reduce their time at work or leave the workforce all together.
This situation is dire across the country and was even before the pandemic. Early childhood care plays an essential role in healthy development, yet many parents are left without affordable options for care outside the home. Our legislators need to work on bringing down the high costs of child care, attracting more qualified providers, and supporting the development of additional centers. Join me and other members of the Virginia Promise Partnership in advocating for our bold goal of ensuring that, regardless of income, all Virginia families have access to affordable, quality child care by 2030.