As a working mom with aging parents, Celeste knows that creating high-quality, affordable care options for children and aging family members will stimulate the economy and lessen the emotional and financial burden on Arkansas families. The economic hardship caused by COVID-19 has created a preventable disaster on the horizon for care facilities, and Celeste will work hard to keep daycare and senior care facilities open in Congress. Without protections and aid for our childcare and eldercare providers, there will be no economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Because Celeste understands the struggle to afford familycare, Celeste will fight to protect our economy and Arkansas families in Congress.
Over half of Americans live in a childcare desert, where there are no accessible childcare facilities in their area. For those that have options, childcare can be cost prohibitive, on average setting families back $547 per month in Arkansas. Yet, for every one dollar we invest in early childhood education, the government will see $7 in returns. Not only is this an investment in the future of our children but a powerful tool to lift children and their families out of poverty.
On the other side of the spectrum, as our family members age, they may require more care than can be safely provided by family members at home. Far too many families experience a tremendous amount of stress trying to care for their aging family member while also attempting to make ends meet and maintain employment, their financial obligations for basic needs such as food and housing don’t take a break just because they are caring for their loved one. In Arkansas the average cost to stay in an assisted living facility or to have 40 hours per week of home care is more than $3,000 per month.
Many families in our state are being “squeezed” between caring for both young children and aging parents at the same time. This puts financial, emotional, and physical strain on the whole family. Our current economy fails to acknowledge how important it is to care for others. Investing in the care economy is a means of (something here about the dignity of work…service and providing care...providing a living wage for those doing the work)
In Congress, Celeste will fight for policy that helps strengthen and support families, and is accessible to working class families. Ensuring that safe, affordable, high quality options exist in Arkansas can transform the quality of life for working families across the state.
To create a quality, accessible, affordable, “familycare” system, Celeste will prioritize federal legislation that:
Guarantees high quality universal pre-k is available at all public elementary schools
Funds studies to measure the impacts of these programs on children and their families
Funds innovative “familycare” models that include care for young children and seniors in the same facility thereby allowing and encouraging multi-generational care and interactions
Includes long-term care coverage in Medicare
Fully funds programs that subsidize childcare for low income families and pairs with state funds to improve the quality of childcare services like the Childcare & Development Block Grant, which currently only serves 15 percent of those eligible for the program, and would stabilize assistance and ensure quality of childcare for millions Americans
Provides tax credits to ensure that no family with earnings less than 1.5 times the state average pays more than 7 percent of their income on childcare or eldercare
Provides federal assistance to struggling childcare facilities to ensure that no one loses access to their daycare provider because of COVID-19
Provides maternity and paternity leave for up to a year.
Is funded by the increased tax revenue of more parents working.
Incentivises child care partnerships for those families/business who work non-traditional hours or shiftwork.