Release | Event | May 17, 2024

Military Leaders Spotlight Solutions to Increase Access to ECE

New report highlights immediate need for renewed investment in early care and education

Washington, DC – A Capitol Hill briefing by Mission: Readiness charted a path forward so that the nation’s children can have access to affordable early care and education and both civilians and the military maintain a skilled workforce.

“Lack of access to high-quality, affordable child care has impeded as many as 100,000 Americans from joining the work force,” said panelist Major General Michael Hall, U.S. Air Force (Retired) and Mission: Readiness member. “The infant and toddler child care crisis now amounts to $122 billion each year in lost earnings, productivity and revenue. Investing in child care provides a triple win: children have access to an environment for healthy development, national security benefits because problems with recruitment and retention due to lack of child care coverage are addressed, and parents’ workforce stability increases.”

Mission: Readiness hosted the panel discussion and released its new report, “Military Child Care: Lessons for the Nation,” which highlights how investing in early care and education is an effective way to address the challenges of recruiting and retaining skilled employees, both civilian and military. The report uplifts the Military Child Care System as a successful model. Fees for on-base programs at the country’s largest employer-sponsored early childhood education program are on a sliding scale, determined by family income.

“Our armed forces recognized that quality child care is essential to the force’s readiness and our families’ ability to continue to serve. The Military Child Care System takes steps to make child care accessible and affordable,” said Major General James Taylor, U.S. Army (Retired) and Mission: Readiness member. “Additionally, training provided at no cost to the child care staff, higher wages, and more benefits for employees than their civilian counterparts result in less staff turnover to create an environment of stability and enhanced quality.”

More than 800 Mission: Readiness members are working around the country to ensure that all children and families have access to high-quality early care and education so the economy is sound and public safety maintained.

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