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Resolutions & Amendments

37th International Convention - Chicago, IL (2006)

Expanding Federal Support for Child Care and Organizing Child Care Workers

Resolution No. 17
37th International Convention
August 7-11, 2006
Chicago, IL

Child care assistance helps low-income working families leave and stay off welfare, succeed in the workplace, and afford quality child care that fosters the well-being and healthy development of children; and

Over the course of a year, more than two-thirds of poor families with children work, and in 2002, 64 percent of single, low-income mothers with children under the age of six were employed; and

The average cost of care for an infant ranges from $3,803 to $13,480 annually, so receipt of child care subsidies makes child care centers and home-based child care more accessible for low-income families, yet only one in seven children who is federally eligible for child care subsidies receives assistance; and

Child care center employees and home-based child care providers are largely unorganized, geographically dispersed and, despite their significant numbers, often lack a voice in government decisions that affect them.  Child care workers earn an average of $7.75 an hour, or $16,000 a year, and often lack access to health insurance, retirement benefits, paid vacation and sick leave; and

The Bush Administration has frozen child care funding for five consecutive years, and proposes cuts in these funds over the next five years.  The Bush Administration has also proposed to make major cuts in the Title XX Social Services Block Grant, another important source of federal funds for states to pay for child care assistance; and

The Administration’s own budget figures show that hundreds of thousands fewer children will be able to receive child care as a result of its budget policies; and
Federal changes to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program contained in the FY 2006 federal budget require a 69 percent increase in the number of low-income families that will have to participate in work-related activities; and

It is estimated that it will cost states more than $12 billion over the next five years to meet the new welfare-to-work requirements and keep pace with inflation, but the TANF bill only includes a $1 billion increase for child care over five years.  State and local budgets cannot absorb the cost of expanding child care needs, as evidenced by 30 states cutting child care assistance in 2004.

That AFSCME will lobby Congress and mobilize our members to support substantially increased federal funding for child care subsidies; and

That AFSCME will continue to commit resources to organizing in the child care industry to improve quality, increase salaries and benefits, and improve other conditions of employment; and

That AFSCME will continue to develop frameworks for enabling home-based workers to come together through AFSCME for a strong voice and union representation.
SUBMITTED BY: Albert Garrett, President and Delegate
Lawrence A. Roehrig, Secretary-Treasurer and Delegate
AFSCME Council 25