Today’s guest blogger is Sarah Wall, Communications and Marketing Strategist for Children’s Council of San Francisco (and a long time volunteer and supporter of HAMO!).
If you have been following our campaign for some time, you already know we support affordable childcare for all families. There is a direct link between a family having affordable access to diapers in order to enroll their children and maintain attendance in programs like Early Head Start. It’s an honor to support the work Children’s Council does for San Francisco families, regardless of income level. Please do check them out and support their work.
Since 1973, Children’s Council of San Francisco has been striving to make high-quality, affordable child care a reality for all families. We provide child care payment assistance for over 5,400 children as well as free child care resources and referrals for parents. Our supportive services include a summer food pantry that provides thousands of families with free, healthy food. This summer, Help A Mother Out (HAMO) generously donated diapers to the patrons of our food pantry, helping to meet a critical need for many of the low-income families we serve.
The services that HAMO and Children’s Council provide for families are vital at a time when families’ budgets are stretched to the limit. A recent report showed that a California family with two working parents and two children needs an annual income of $75,500 to make ends meet. To earn this income, both parents would need to work full-time, year-round, and earn an hourly wage of $18.15. This scenario is out of reach for many families in our recession-ravaged state, not to mention families headed by single parents.
Continued state funding for family-friendly initiatives, including access to child care, is vital in ensuring that children, parents, businesses, communities, and the economy flourish.
Affordable, quality child care is associated with positive long-term outcomes for children. Early childhood education improves children’s cognitive, behavioral and emotional development. The effects of early education last beyond the preschool years, helping to prevent special education placement and grade retention, boost high school graduation rates, reduce dependency on social welfare programs, and reduce crime.
Child care also allows parents to work, attend school, or complete job training. Parents with access to quality child care arrangements make for more productive employees. Studies show that reliable child care reduces employee absenteeism, tardiness, and turnover, all of which contribute to a company’s bottom line.
Child care helps boost the economy at a time when our state’s unemployment rate is at12.3%. Families who have access to child care work, pay taxes, and support large and small businesses. They also help to ensure that our state’s small child care businesses stay open, pay income taxes, purchase taxable goods, and pay for rent, utilities, and other expenditures.
Although child care has so many benefits, California child care subsidies are in jeopardy. Proposals are still on the table to eliminate tens of thousands of child care subsidy slots. The continuing budget impasse in Sacramento means that the state will stop subsidy payments to providers starting this month, which threatens the safety of children, the viability of child care businesses, and the ability of parents to keep working.
We at Children’s Council urge you to help create a brighter future for California families by engaging in the November election. Learn about the costs and benefits of propositions, and determine which local and state candidates have the best interests of children, families, and healthy communities in mind. Then head to the polls in November. The future of California is in the hands of informed voters, and we hope you will be one of them.
Sarah Wall is the Communications and Marketing Strategist at Children’s Council of San Francisco. She has 12 years of experience in marketing, training, commmunications, and design at nonprofits in New Mexico, New York City, and the Bay Area. Sarah lives in San Francisco, where she enjoys taking long walks with her dog, designing print and Web projects, and learning Spanish and Portuguese.