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“Families can’t wait” on childcare funding; Democrats delivered by investing in our workforce and expanding the availability of reliable childcare.

During the recent legislative session, House Democrats prioritized making childcare more accessible and affordable for Virginia families with an unprecedented number of bills and new investments designed to boost economic growth and full employment.

Childcare has been a top concern for voters since a lack of daycare options has prevented many people from returning to work post-pandemic. The final budget sent to the Governor’s desk contained historic investments of $421 million in early education and childcare funding, which would fund over 45,000 childcare slots by 2026. Funding for early childhood education surpassed the Governor’s introduced budget by over $117 million.

“These investments are so important because we know families can’t wait,” said Education Committee Vice Chair Delegate Shelly Simonds. “They are spending 26% of their income on childcare and need help right now.”

Democratic House members offered and passed a number of common-sense, bipartisan bills to improve access and affordability, including legislation to make it easier to set up daycares in office buildings, reinforce safe sleep practices in home daycare settings, and help the Commonwealth plan for future child care needs.

”With the passage of HB281, expanding childcare options helps working moms and dads, creates additional workforce, and helps utilize unused commercial space,” said Del. Atoosa Reaser. “It’s a win-win-win!”

“I’m really proud of the way Democrats continue to move the ball forward on our commitment to early childhood care and education by creating a mechanism to annually project the general funds needed to support a quality system in Virginia,” said Del. David Bulova. His bill, HB419, creates a new planning tool in the Department of Education to determine future childcare needs in the Commonwealth so that we understand and address the funding gaps in early childhood care and education and better support the needs of working parents.

A number of Delegates also had legislation addressing workforce shortages in the childcare sector, including bills to make it easier to do background checks, share certification information, and reduce red tape when accessing federal dollars for childcare programs.

“We hear from families and local businesses all the time about how a lack of childcare is holding back employment and business expansion in the Commonwealth. Women, especially, are impacted by a lack of options. I’m so glad the Democratic House Caucus has prioritized our littlest learners this session,” said Del. Debra Gardner.

“Childcare is a crucial component to growing our economy. Children are our future, and they deserve this investment in quality childcare,” said Del. Amy Laufer.

“If we want to turbocharge our economy and strengthen early childhood education, universal access to quality affordable childcare is essential,” said Del. Phil Hernandez. Concerns about the high costs of childcare were something I heard about all the time on the campaign trail, which is why we worked on so many of these bills this session, often in bipartisan fashion, to help families across Virginia.”