March 2, 2021

Dear Members of Congress,

Coronavirus affected nearly all aspects of society, but child care has been among the hardest hit. At the onset of the pandemic, a number of providers were forced to close, some for good, leaving many working parents without child care arrangements and many child care workers without an income.

Now is the time to advance policies to support child care facilities, not undermine them. Sadly, the impending D.C. rule requiring child care workers to have college degrees will harm daycare workers, working parents, and children. The mandate, passed in 2016, requires daycare workers in the District to obtain a college degree in early childhood education by December 2, 2023.

Washington, D.C. already has among the highest child care costs in the country. This new requirement will make the costs of child care skyrocket without improving the service. Studies suggest that regulations intended to enhance daycare quality often fail, but they make daycare significantly more expensive for parents. This is likely to be particularly true with this nonsensical regulation, which will make it impossible for people — particularly women — with decades of experience caring for infants and young children, who exemplify the qualities most central for a good caregiver, such as being compassionate, patient and supportive, to pursue this vocation simply because they haven’t paid the tens of thousands of dollars required to obtain a degree. It will put thousands of existing child care workers, most of whom are female, on the unemployment lines or force them to shoulder tuition costs for an education with dubious benefits.

Independent Women’s Voice proudly supports the Child Care Worker Opportunity Act, introduced by Senator Mike Lee and Representative Nancy Mace, which would repeal this misguided and counterproductive requirement as well as any DC regulation requiring child care workers to possess an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, or any college credits in order to provide child care within the District.

Child care is irrefutably critical to our country: Four in ten working adults have children under age 18. Making sure that children are properly cared for while their parents are at work is more important now than ever.

We thank Senator Lee and Representative Mace for their leadership on this important issue. Independent Women’s Voice is proud to support the Child Care Worker Opportunity Act and urges all Members of Congress to work toward its swift passage.