The costs of child care in the United States have skyrocketed in recent years, making it nearly impossible for many families to have access to high-quality, affordable care. Research shows costs go up to an average of $9,500 per year and, in 28 states, one year of child care can cost more than one year of college tuition.
But what if Sen. Elizabeth Warren were to become president and able to implement her universal child care plan? What kind of relief would you receive? Well, you don't have to do the math in your head anymore. On Thursday, the Massachusetts Democrat unveiled a calculator that allows you to see how much your family could save under her universal child care and early education proposal. You can use it for yourself, right here.
"Child care was the boulder that almost crushed me — and my Aunt Bee rescued me," Warren told Refinery29. "But not everyone is lucky enough to have an Aunt Bee of their own. My plan will guarantee high-quality child care and early education for every child in America from birth to school age. In the wealthiest country on the planet, access to affordable and high-quality child care and early education should be a right, not a privilege reserved for the rich."
Warren's Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act, which she introduced in February, proposes that the federal government partners with local establishments to create a network of child-care providers — including locally licensed centers, preschools, and in-home care options. Families with a household income 200% below the poverty level — such as a family of four with a $51,500 annual income — would be guaranteed access to free, high-quality child care. Families whose households income are above that would pay on a sliding scale and the fee would be capped at no more than 7% of their income. The plan, like many of the other proposals in her presidential platform, would be paid for through her "wealth tax," which would apply to Americans whose net worth exceeds $50 million, and the projected revenue is $2.75 trillion over 10 years.
Experts say it's a welcome change to see lawmakers and presidential candidates attempt to address the crisis of unaffordable child care with the seriousness it deserves. "We've been in an untenable dilemma: Parents can't afford the price of child care for their young children, and care providers can't afford to live on the low wages that most people are paid," Ellen Bravo, co-director of Family Values @ Work, previously told Refinery29. "For kids to thrive, parents need care to be affordable and providers need their work properly valued. There's only one solution, and that is recognizing the need for public investment. What we expect is that, like Elizabeth Warren, many other policy makers are going to embrace the solution that is universal, affordable for all families child care."