Thank you for being an advocate for children and families. This work matters now more than ever. We have created a template intended to help you craft an op-ed or letter to the editor responding to Trump’s budget that you can submit to your local paper. It contains suggestions for each paragraph (in italics) and an example paragraph drafted by NWLC. Key phrases are in red, so we recommend using that specific language. Otherwise, please personalize it with information about your own community.
[Paragraph 1 Guidance: Introduce the fact that President Trump’s budget includes a cut to the main child care support program in the United States, as well as significant cuts to other supports for low-income Americans in favor of millionaires, billionaires, and corporations. You know your community best, what would they react to? The budget is full of broken promises!]
On the campaign trail and in his first months in office, President Trump talked about prioritizing child care saying, “Child care is such a big problem,” and, “We’re going to solve that problem.” Families believed him, but his budget actually proposes a $95 million cut to the major child care program supporting parents and children in the United States as well as significant other cutbacks that will impact child care. For struggling families, this broken promise is devastating. Unfortunately, it’s one of many. The Trump Administration’s budget proposal also contains unacceptable cuts to essential supports like basic income security, health care, food stamps, and disability insurance, all while handing billions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and big corporations.
[Paragraph 2 Guidance: Discuss how this budget cut hurts parents and children. Stories grab readers’ attention – if you feel comfortable sharing your own story or have permission to share someone else’s, this would be a great place to insert it! We used some key statistics in lieu of a story.]
Right now, [state] has [XXXXX] children on the waiting list for child care assistance. These are families who are eligible for help, but cannot receive it because there is simply not enough funding. (If your state has no wait list, use “Right now, thousands and thousands of families in [state] cannot receive any help paying for child care because the bar is set so low for eligibility for child care assistance.”) An increased investment could mean that these children and others would receive the child care assistance their families need to work. It also could lead to improved health and safety for children in child care settings and better wages for sorely underpaid providers. Instead, without an increase in funding, experts project that over [XXXX] children in [state] could lose child care in 2018. We’ve got to do better. All children, no matter where they live, deserve a safe and healthy learning environment and all parents deserve the opportunity to work and support their children.
[Paragraph 3 Guidance: Now is the time to present a positive alternative vision for child care. Families need child care assistance that helps them pay their bills monthly. They need the child care to be high-quality. And we need to improve pay for the child care workforce. Expound on this.]
We will be watching to see how members of Congress respond to this disastrous budget and, on the issue of child care, we urge them to remember that families live month-to-month, so any comprehensive child care plan should help working families pay their child care bills when they’re due. We also need to ensure that children have a safe and healthy learning environment and high quality early learning experiences. And finally, we must raise pay for providers, who do critically important work but struggle to support their own families. The child care workforce shouldn’t have to worry about putting food on the table for their own children. Providing assistance on a sliding scale to all families who need it would dramatically improve the lives of millions of families.
[Paragraph 4 Guidance: This final paragraph if your call-to-action for members of the community and your policy makers to support policies that strengthen American families.]
We need a budget that strengthens American families, not one that breaks them down. And for the millions of parents struggling to afford a safe, healthy learning environment for their young children, there’s no time to waste. Our children deserve better. And so, I urge President Trump and [Senator/Representative] to pass a budget that strengthens families and expands access to high-quality child care. Families need child care now.