Pandemic Brings Childcare Access Issues to a Head

SUNBURY – Availability, affordability and quality . . . These are the concerns of the local arm of the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission,  which focuses on the success of every child in the commonwealth. This was discussed on several occasions on On The Mark, the WKOK live telephone talkshow recently.

Art Thomas, chair of the ELIC here in The Valley called the show and says he believes these critical child care and business concerns can only be met with subsidized early childhood education, either by government or employers, “I want the world to know I’m not a fan of the Build Back Better plan in its entirety, but I’ll take one piece of it any day, which is increased spending in quality early learning.”

He notes, that employers can contribute to solving the issue, “You can give (employees) flexible schedules, you can give them dependent care Flexible Spending Accounts. How about child-care vouchers, tuition assistance? Prices continue to rise, the economy continues to grow and competitive needs are out there for benefits.”

He says while increased US government spending will increase taxes, he said it’s necessary, “Households that earn more than the Federal Poverty Level but less than the basic cost of living pay 21% of their survival budget for childcare – and the federal government says it should only be 7% of a budget.”

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