Strengthening Investments in Child Care Can Bolster Maryland’s Future
Investments in quality child care can improve the economy, increase public safety, and enhance national security
Strengthening investments in the expansion of quality child care can help sustain the current workforce, build the future workforce, contribute to public safety, and enhance national security. Ignoring the negative implications of inaccessible and unaffordable, quality child care can hamper Maryland’s future.
A recent study of the infant-toddler child care crisis reports a staggering annual estimated cost of $2.2 billion in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue in Maryland. Past studies report a $1.28 billion reduction in Maryland’s economic output due to absence and turnover resulting from child care issues. Maryland families also bear a burden. Parents depend on child care to be able to work. Young children need nurturing, stimulating environments for healthy brain development, as their brains develop more in the first three years of life than at any other stage of development.
It’s important to look at the years of a child’s life between birth and age 3 because that’s when the brain is developing. These are the most critical years for child development and Maryland’s future economy.
Mike Chesser, Former BGE CEO, Chairman of the Board, Great Plains Energy; Ready Nation Member, Annapolis, MD
And there are societal consequences. Maryland prisons are overly represented by persons with learning challenges that could have been addressed during the early years. It doesn’t have to be this way. Providing children with high-quality early learning opportunities can help reduce the human and fiscal costs of crime in the future.
Further, our national security relies on qualified young adults who are ready, willing, and able to serve in the U.S. military. However, educational deficits, obesity, substance abuse, and crime prevent 70 percent of Maryland youth from qualifying for service. Healthy development in the earliest years sets the stage for children’s future success. Without improvements to the child care system, our nation risks having an even smaller recruiting pool in the future.
Beyond the immediate need to improve child care, the future competitiveness and readiness of our country is predicated on raising healthy and productive youth who can go on to serve in all facets of society, including our armed forces.
Rear Admiral (Ret.) Doug Fears, U.S. Coast Guard; Mission: Readiness Member, Whitman, MD
Maryland lawmakers must strengthen investments that enhance the affordability and availability of quality child care, including increases in child care subsidies and subsidy rates. A fundamental feature of child care quality is highly-qualified teachers who need to be adequately compensated.