Our ally in Virginia, the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF), is rallying stakeholders to advocate for improvements to the state’s child-care industry during the current pandemic and beyond. The organization has assembled a task force, comprised of government, business, philanthropic, local, and nonprofit leaders, to develop a strategic plan to stabilize and strengthen Virginia’s child care industry.
The Back to Work Virginia task force was created in April and will meet monthly with a goal to generate recommendations for relevant sectors including business, philanthropy, Virginia’s administration, and the Virginia General Assembly. Recommendations will include strategies to adequately and sustainably fund child care and early childhood education, diversify and maximize financing, reconceptualize and strengthen business practices, and recognize the true cost of quality services as both a public and private good.
The task force is receiving input from a team of national experts, including Helene Stebbins, Executive Director of the Alliance for Early Success, as well as state and local organizations and child care providers. In their first two meetings, task force members reviewed reports and recommendations from the Bipartisan Policy Center and The Policy Equity Group.
In creating the task force, VECF aims to generate cross-sector involvement and support for rebuilding a stronger child care industry, recognizing that child care is essential to a functioning economy.
“The pandemic crisis has laid bare the deep flaws in the current early care and education system,’” says Kathy Glazer, President of VECF. “As Virginia begins to think about its economic recovery in the days and months ahead—we know child care will be the oxygen by which our economy will be rebuilt.”
Early task force meetings have zeroed in on the opportunity to frame early childhood within the big picture of human capital development and to amplify the dual benefits of child care and early childhood education in ways that better articulate the return on investment. In addition, there is consensus around the need for a long-term business plan that lays out policies and investments necessary to achieve access and quality goals. The full list of recommendations will be finalized in October. More information about the Back to Work Task Force can be found here.