Congresswoman Nikema Williams Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Access to Child Care

WASHINGTON — On Friday, Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) along with Congressman Don Young (AK-AL) introduced the Care is an Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Act. This bipartisan legislation would require Economic Development Districts to show in their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies how they will increase access to care-based services, including child care. In the 116th Congress, similar legislation passed in the House of Representatives by a voice vote. 

“Childcare is infrastructure and essential to communities’ economic development,” said Congresswoman Williams, who is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “If parents don’t have access to quality childcare, they can’t go to work. With the CEDS Act, hardworking Georgia families can count on their communities to plan for this urgent need. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be bold and visionary as we re-think infrastructure. The CEDS Act will do exactly that as I continue to build the physical and human infrastructure we need to complete President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda.”   

“Supporting Alaska’s working families has always been one of my highest priorities in Congress,” said Congressman Young. “One of the best ways to support families is to expand access to quality child care. For many parents, particularly women, a lack of child care reduces workforce participation and stifles upward economic mobility. I am proud to join my colleague, Congresswoman Nikema Williams, as we introduce the Care is an Economic Development Strategy Act. This is a crucial bill to help ensure the needed expansion of child care in Alaska and across our nation. I will continue working alongside parents, employers, and child care advocates to secure an economy that helps working parents thrive.”

“It has never been more clear that child care is crucial to many parents’ ability to work and, therefore, our economy,” said Mindy Binderman, Executive Director, Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS). “GEEARS recently released polling showing that 34% of Georgia parents with young children said they or someone in their family had to quit a job, not take a job, or greatly change a job in the past 12 months due to problems with child care, up from 26% in 2018. As we look to build a robust economy for the future, addressing access to high-quality early childhood education and care is an integral pillar to our economic development.” 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how critical child care is to a well-functioning economy,” said Roy Chrobocinski, Senior Director, Federal Domestic Policy, Save the Children.  “Now more than ever, we must ensure that high-quality child care is accessible and affordable so that all parents can return to their offices when it’s safe to do so. That’s why Save the Children applauds Representatives Williams and Young for introducing the CEDS Act, which will help improve access to quality and affordable child care. This is a great step towards our economic recovery and ensuring a better and brighter future for America’s kids.” 

“First Focus Campaign for Children thanks Reps. Nikema Williams and Don Young for introducing the Care is an Economic Development Strategy Act of 2021, which recognizes the essential role that child care plays in making our economy work,” said Bruce Lesley, President, First Focus Campaign for Children. “By ensuring that communities plan for high-quality, accessible, and affordable care that benefits the children who receive it and the professionals who offer it, the bill acknowledges child care as the public good it is.” 

“The CEDS Act is a key step in recognizing that any successful economic development strategy must include care infrastructure — care work is not only the work that makes all work possible, but a focus on care work, services, and costs is the way we ensure our economic recovery and growth,” said Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance. “When seniors, people with disabilities, and children get the care they need, family caregivers and parents can return to work, care costs for families won’t break the bank, and care services will be available for all who need them. Rep. Williams understands that when federal dollars are invested in increasing access to the care our communities need to thrive, we can all live with the dignity and respect we deserve.”

“The Care is an Economic Development Strategy Act is an important step in ensuring families have access to affordable, high-quality child care by prioritizing the critical role of child care in local economic development for communities across the country,” said  Sarah Rittling, Executive Director, First Five Year Fund (FFYF). “As we work to strengthen our economy and build a child care and early learning system that works for families who need it, innovative solutions like this bipartisan bill are critical in supporting communities as they plan for the future and invest in child care. FFYF is grateful for the work of Congresswoman Nikema Williams and Congressman Don Young for working to address child care shortages in communities throughout the country.” 

Click here to read the text of the CEDS Act. 

CONTACT: PressGA05@mail.house.gov 

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