Public Policy

The Alexander-Taylor Women Overcoming Barriers Advocacy Program

 
Advocacy is one of the most effective ways to combat the sort of interrelated root causes of social problems and systemic factors that are detailed in the AWF’s Breaking the Cycle of Generational Poverty in Metro Atlanta research findings. In 2013, AWF formed a Public Policy & Community Education Committee that was charged with fostering legislative and public action that will support the elimination of generational poverty among women and girls. After much discussion, and based on AWF’s community assessment survey results, AWF’s Breaking the Cycle of Generational Poverty Research and Georgia Budget & Policy Institute’s Recovery or Bust Policy Report, AWF’s Public Policy & Community Education Committee selected child care as the issue AWF will undertake.

Facts:

  • Georgia offers a child care assistance program (CAPS) to help families afford child care, but the program helps just 6 percent of the nearly 300,000 low-income children under the age of 12 in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties. This amounted to an average of about 18,000 children in 2013.
  • Georgia is home to nearly 544,000 families that qualify as low income. Nearly 400,000 of these Georgia families work for most or all of the year, but still struggle.
  • Nearly four in 10 of Georgia’s working families with children are low-income, putting Georgia among the ten states with the highest proportions of low-income working families.
  • In 2013 AWF conducted a Community Assessment Survey to 200 direct service organizations serving economically vulnerable women. The majority of the respondents cited childcare as a major barrier to self-sufficiency for their clients.
  • Many low-income parents raising young children in Georgia are not able to afford the high cost of quality child care. Going without such care can prevent them from obtaining jobs, keeping jobs, and earning higher wages. Parents are more likely to stay employed longer when they receive child care assistance.
  • More than 73 percent of Georgia children younger than 13 years old living in low-income families have working parents. For these parents, child care assistance could make them better workers and increase family earnings over time.
  • Expanding childcare assistance will benefit Georgia’s economy by helping parents rejoin the workforce. A preponderance of research shows child care assistance can help these families contribute more to the workforce and to their own finances.
  • Child care-related disruptions cost U.S. businesses an estimated $3 billion each year.

An avalanche of research makes it clear child care assistance helps parents to become better workers and higher earners. When parents are better workers, productivity can increase, turnover costs can decrease and working families can spend more money on necessities. Child care assistance can help out-of-work parents regain employment. Returning parents to the workforce not only increases family income but also boosts Georgia’s economy when they purchase goods and services and pay more in taxes. To help more of its families afford quality child care, Georgia must direct more money to increase child care subsidies. Those dollars should be used to:

  1. Increase the income eligibility thresholds for child care assistance.
  2. Increase the reimbursement rates paid to child care providers.
  3. Decrease child care co-payments for families.

In 2015, The Atlanta Women’s Foundation partnered with Georgia Budget and Policy Institute to develop a report that makes the economic case for why Georgia should increase the amount of child care subsidies to help women work and the long-term economic benefit to the state of Georgia. To read the full report, click here.

 

Child Care and Development Fund Plan for Georgia FFY 2016-2018

As the voice for Atlanta’s women and children, on January 30, 2016, AWF provided comment on the proposed Child Care and Development Fund Plan for Georgia FFY 2016-2018. To read AWF’s comments, click here.