Finding high-quality, affordable child care & early learning is becoming increasingly difficult for millions of working families across the country. The cost of child care has increased by 25 percent in the past decade, forcing many parents to choose between paying for child care and leaving the workforce altogether. In fact, in 28 states and the District of Columbia, infant care costs exceed the average cost of in-state college tuition at public 4-year institutions.

In order to address the current child care crisis in this country, families need high-quality, affordable child care and access to quality preschool programs that will prepare children for success in kindergarten and beyond. Care should be affordable, programs should be high-quality, and the system should work for working families, not the other way around.

That’s the reason for the Child Care for Working Families Act, a bold and comprehensive bill that would address our nation’s child care crisis. This bill would ensure no parent has to pay more than they can afford on child care, and parents who make less, pay less. In fact, many parents wouldn’t pay anything at all. The bill would also support universal access to high-quality preschool programs for all 3- and 4-year olds, so children are prepared to thrive in kindergarten and beyond. Finally, the bill would significantly improve compensation and training for the child care workforce to ensure that our nation’s teachers and caregivers have the support they need, as well as the children they are caring for, to thrive.

The Child Care for Working Families Act would jumpstart our economy.

According to one study, this bill would create 770,000 jobs in child care—good-paying American jobs that cannot be shipped overseas. It would also allow an additional 1.6 million parents who were forced to stay home because of a lack of child care to return to work. And of course, it would create generations of young people who are able to reach their full potential.

Under the Child Care for Working Families Act, 884,000 children in Washington state would be eligible for child care subsidies.

We’ve already seen momentum and bipartisan support for child care. Last year, Congress passed the largest increase in child care funding ever, meaning tens of thousands of low-income and working families now have access to child care for the first time. This is a step in the right direction, but far too many families are still unable to afford—or even find—high quality child care.