National Day Without Child Care: Spotlight on the National Child Care Crisis

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Child care workers earn an average of $13.22 an hour. Early childhood education and care (birth through kindergarten), is so underfunded that many families who need care are unable to access it, and some early educators leave the field because they can’t make a livable wage. This leaves families, providers and businesses vulnerable. That’s why Community Change launched the Day Without Child Care (DWOCC), an annual day of action to put a spotlight on the child care crisis and need for funding for a 21st century child care system..

May 13, 2024 marked the third annual DWOCC, and it was the biggest turn-out ever, beginning with an incredible segment on the TODAY show that set the tone for what was to come during the day all over the country.  Hundreds of child care providers in 27 states and Washington, D.C., closed their doors on May 13 to remind policymakers how essential they are, not only to families but to the nation’s economy. Community Change tracked at least 86 events across 26 states and Washington, DC hosted by child care organizers.


ECFC’s Raising Child Care Fund Grantee Partners were leading advocates in their states. Just a few examples of press they received:

>>>>>Family Forward Oregon: Nearly 20 child care providers in seven cities across Oregon, gathered to raise awareness about the child care crisis in Oregon.  KGW8 Local News featured gatherings across the state, and video of parents and providers in this feature: We’re in a child care desert’: Oregon child care providers gather for national “Day without Child Care.”


>>>>>The CEO Project, an initiative of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative: 250 child care centers across the state closed their doors for the day and 350 people — including parents, kids, and providers — flooded the Ohio state capitol in Columbus, demanding funding for a more equitable child care system. Their actions were featured nationally as well as in local outlets including the Ohio Capital Journal: Children and advocates rally on Ohio Statehouse steps for National Day Without Child Care.

>>>>>SPACEs in Action (SIA): More than 200 people rallied outside municipal buildings in downtown Washington, DC, and dozens of parents, grandparents, and children showed up to stand in solidarity with educators in response to the District cutting the Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund from the 2025 budget. In the lead-up to this action, SPACEs and Community Change were featured in News One: National Day Without Child Care: Black Providers, Parents Explain Urgency Of The Moment, and the Grio, DC Shouldn’t balance its budget on the backs of our babies. On the DWOCC, WUSA9 did a ride-along with SIA on the field trip to the Wilson Building.

SIA Executive Director, LaDon Love, and Raising Child Care Fund Director, Rachel Schumacher also spoke to Inside Philanthropy about what’s happening in DC and the DWOCC: This Pooled Fund is Driving Progress for Early Care and Confronting a Possible Setback in DC.

>>>>>Kids Count On Us, a statewide coalition of community-based childcare providers, teachers, and families built by ISAIAH: Early childhood educators in Minnesota closed five of the seven child care centers in the Iron Range and took a bus to the state capitol, where they rallied with state senators, marched through the capitol building, and met with Governor Tim Walz to discuss their funding demands. They were featured in several local news spots, including in ABC affiliates: Byron child care workers share industry concerns on National Day Without Child Care, and the Minnesota Reformer: Advocates Continue to Push for Public Investment in Early Childhood.


At the end of the DWOCC, more than 300 movement leaders and allies came together for a virtual celebration — joined by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark, who congratulated organizers on successfully illustrating the fact that child care is essential economic infrastructure.

But Wait, There’s More to Do:

A Day Without Child Care is a day that never ends until we have a child care system that centers families, caregivers, and racial and gender justice.  Keep the momentum going:

  1. Learn more about ECFC’s Raising Child Care Fund, our Grantee Partners, and connecting with community organizers in your state.
  2. Learn more about Community Change, and how they build the power of low-income people, especially people of color, to fight for a society where everyone can thrive.
  3. Check out Community Change’s messaging guide for Day Without Child Care to continue thinking about raising awareness on this issue.
  4. Get involved with The Child Care for Every Family Network: workgroups (Policy, Lobbying, and Communications) to help implement their federal campaign plan; and leadership groups – their Parent & Family Leadership Group and Provider Constituency Group meets monthly to inform their priorities and give feedback on our progress.
  5. Watch for a new State Campaign Cohort in eight states convened by Community Change and Child Care for Every Family Network.

Photo credit: Source: ABC6 News, Minnesota,"Byron child care workers share industry concerns on National Day Without Child Care"

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