Mr. Chairman, I would like to commend you for holding this hearing to focus attention on the child care needs of America's families.
The key to successful child care is that parents have choices about how to best care for their children. Increasing the availability of licensed out-of-home care is one way to expand those choices. In order to do this, we must ensure that there are adequate resourses for the construction and rehabilitation of child care facilities. A recent national study found that 40 percent of the rooms used to provide care for infants in child care centers are in such poor condition that they put the child's health, safety or development at risk. Only eight percent were rated as providing quality care for infants and toddlers.
As you may know, my top priority has been to commit federal resources to help state and local governments rebuild and modernize our school infrastructure. Providing federal assistance to rebuild our child care centers is another way to ensure a safe environment in which our children can learn and grow.
I would also like to share with you a letter from the Illinois Facilities Fund, a group with whom I work closely, regarding child care facility needs. They have been a leader in developing innovative initiatives to increase the physical space available for child care services.
Those of us concerned with the lack of child care choices for at-home and working
parents must effectively target public and private resources to address the child care crisis. Only
by working together can we ensure that parents have good child care options and children receive
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