Questioning The Candidates For The Kids
Dec 03, 2007
Do you have questions for the presidential candidates about their positions on children's issues, but don't have the opportunity to ask them because you don't live in New Hampshire, Iowa, or South Carolina? A coalition of 20 Iowa organizations has leveraged their location in one of the key states in the presidential race to ask them for you.
A new website, www.itsaboutourkids.org, has posted the results of this effort to survey all the Republican and Democratic candidates on a set of questions on child care, preschool, afterschool, health care, services for children with disabilities, child abuse and neglect, family economic security and success, immigration policy, and ensuring equal economic opportunity. No Republican candidates have responded thus far, but all the Democratic candidates have submitted their answers. The website also contains links to all the candidates websites, guides to finding child and family policy positions on the websites, and tools for citizens on how to find out more information about the candidates.
No matter the candidate, child care and early education policies should receive serious attention during this election season. Working families need child care, and children need high quality, nurturing early learning experiences. Three-quarters of children under age five with employed mothers experience non-parental child care regularly, often full time. Babies and toddlers under age three are not excluded from this trend, and there is evidence the care they experience is more likely to be of low quality. But quality is expensive, and the average cost of full time care for an infant in a child care center is as high as $14,647 depending on the state. Stagnant federal funding for child care and early education programs has meant fewer children get access to the assistance that helps their parents pay for child care. A federal commitment to helping more low-income families choose the best care for their children that would get our vote.