One of Maryland NOW’s missions is to help women break through the “glass ceiling” of the executive suite, and break loose of the “sticky floor” — the dead-end, low wage jobs that keep so many women in poverty. We submit that the Quality Child Care Access and Affordability Act of 2006 meets both of these ends and ask all of our members to ask their Senator and Delegate to support the Quality Child Care Access and Affordability Act of 2006.
Approximately 75 percent of all households have both parents – or the sole parent – in the workforce. Upon returning to work from the birth of a child, working women report that an important factor in continuing their career advancement is an affordable, safe and stable child care environment for their child. The Quality Child Care Access and Affordability Act will help to stabilize and grow the family child care workforce by giving child care providers a stronger voice in decisions affecting their profession, helping to ensure that ensuring that working women have a good environment for their children while at work.
The Quality Child Care Access and Affordability Act will also help women achieve economic security for women who provide child care services to low-income and working families. Already, family child care providers take a 25% pay cut when accepting children in the Purchase of Care program, because rates are set by regulation at 75% of market value. As a practical matter, however, rates are today only about 34% of the market value. The failure of the State to regularly adjust rates for family child care providers in the Purchase of Care program undermines the economic security of working women. By allowing family child providers to jointly negotiate their rates, women will – over time – be able to achieve a level of economic certainty on par with other professions. Child care providers may also choose, through the negotiating process, to make other “economic security” issues a priority such as access to health or pension plans, certainty in reimbursement schedules, or enhanced training and credentialing.