Press Releases

On national “Day Without Child Care,” advocates called on Congress to address the crisis in our child care system

May 13, 2024


Families and advocates celebrated child care workers while calling on Maine members of Congress to create a just and equitable child care system.

Families, child care workers, and advocates came together on Monday to celebrate A Day Without Child Care and call on Rep. Jared Golden to support federal funding for child care. Hosted at the YWCA Central Maine in Lewiston, community members and parents of the organization’s child care and afterschool programs signed a petition to be delivered to Rep. Golden, as well as a card congratulating him and his wife on their new baby. A representative from Rep. Golden’s office attended the event.

Amanda Hatch, the chief program and impact officer at YWCA Central Maine, said A Day Without Child Care is part of a national effort to raise the visibility of child care as a public issue.

“Here at the YWCA, we are already seeing the impacts of the investments the Maine legislature made in the child care sector this session, including the wage supplements for child care employees—but we know there is still work to be done at the state and federal levels,” Hatch said. “That’s why we continue to find opportunities like this one to both celebrate those child care sector workers who show up for our families each and every day, while also demanding the systemic changes and supports needed to create and sustain a thriving child care sector that works for everyone.”

Lewiston resident Cyndi Tucci, whose son attends the YWCA after school program, said balancing her life would be very difficult without child care.

“I’m a single parent, so it really gives me the opportunity to work and take care of my family,” she said. “I never would have been able to get my degree without child care.”

However, child care is becoming increasingly expensive, forcing many parents to make impossible choices between work and child care. No matter where a family lives or how much money they make, most of us can agree that all children deserve the very best care. No parent should have to choose between paying the bills or having their child cared for while they’re at work.

Tucci added, “A lot of times parents work two jobs to afford child care. Paying for child care is like having a second mortgage.”

Plus, child care workers are often underpaid. They’re the “workforce behind the workforce.” Without them, many parents wouldn’t be able to work, but too many child care workers are struggling to earn enough to provide for their own families.

Carrie Jadud, an organizer with Maine People’s Alliance (which co-hosted Monday’s event), said, “Nothing happens in our economy without child care. It’s crucial infrastructure, just like the roads and bridges people drive on to get to work, and we need a level of investment that reflects that.”

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Maine People’s Alliance (MPA) was founded in Lewiston in 1982 and has grown to be the largest community organization in Maine, and one of the largest in the country. MPA is a powerful grassroots network of more than 32,000 members who work together on issues that include but are not limited to climate change, toxics use reduction, health care access, affordable housing, racial justice, and immigrant rights.

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Contact: Nora Flaherty-Stanford, [email protected], (207) 370-8314