Councilmember Hans Riemer’s Child Care Bill (VIDEO)
Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer held a rally on March 31 to discuss details of a bill he is sponsoring to create a new County Office of Child Care. Here is a short video recap:
The new office would be responsible for creating innovative strategies to implement a comprehensive child care program for the County. Those strategies would include creating a plan for universal pre-kindergarten and child care and developing public-private partnerships among businesses, Montgomery County Public Schools and County Government. The Office of Child Care also would administer the selection of providers in public spaces, including in Montgomery County Public Schools facilities to the extent allowed by state law.
“As fast as child care costs are rising in Montgomery County, this need is becoming as big of an affordability crisis as higher education has already become,” said Councilmember Riemer. “How can families really be expected to pay for child care, save for college, save for retirement and have anything left? When President Barack Obama said in his 2015 State of the Union Address, ‘It’s time we stop treating child care as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us,’ I couldn’t agree more. And I know there are a lot of dads out there who will agree with me when I say that as a man and a father, child care must be a personal priority for all of us.”
A rising number of families in the County are struggling to find affordable, high-quality child care. In January 2015, the Maryland Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood Development reported that there are 477 licensed child care centers and 948 registered family care homes in the County with a capacity to serve 39,994 children. Census data shows that there are more than 64,852 children below the age of 5 in the County.
In addition, research shows that families struggle with child care affordability. The Maryland Community Action Partnership in 2012 reported that the family self-sufficiency standard in Montgomery County for two adults and one preschooler is nearly $83,000 annually.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that parents spend 10 percent or less of their family income on child care. County residents, on average, spend 22 percent of their income on child care. The costs for child care in the County range between 32 and 40 percent more than the Maryland average. Moreover, it is predicted that these costs will increase by nine to 14 percent through 2018.