Today, Joe Biden released the third plank of his plan to “Build Back Better” and create a 21st century caregiving and education workforce. With this plan, Biden will make substantial investments in the infrastructure of care in our country — to make child care more affordable and accessible for working families, and to make it easier for aging relatives and loved ones with disabilities to have quality, affordable home- or community-based care.
The plan could have large impacts on Wisconsin’s caregiving workforce and families. For example:
- Biden will provide all 3- and 4-year-olds access to free, high-quality universal pre-kindergarten. This means Wisconsin parents of 4-year-olds could save around $10,197 a year, which is the average cost for child care for a 4-year-old.
- In 2019, 54 percent of Wisconsin’s population lived within a child care desert — meaning there were no licensed providers or less than one provider opening for every three children. In Western Wisconsin, over 50 percent of zip codes were classified as child care deserts.
- In recent years, the Wisconsin Shares program has fallen short helping many low-income families access child care, with far too many families unable to afford their co-pay and additional costs.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has made the availability of affordable child care even worse — with an estimated of roughly 40 percent of Wisconsin child care facilities self-reporting as closed.
- Biden will allocate $450 billion to give more people the choice to receive care at home or in supportive community situations, or to have that choice for their loved ones.
- In Wisconsin, More than 39,000 home care workers— including personal care aides and home health aides — provide caregiving services to older adults and people with disabilities each day. Home care workers provide 8 out of every 10 hours of paid long-term services and support.
Wisconsin leaders from across the state are applauding the proposal.
“Early childhood educators have long been under appreciated. While so many families rely on these professionals day in and day out, they are not paid enough and deserve better,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin. “I applaud Vice President Biden’s plan to give them a desperately needed raise and provide them with benefits and other protections. This proposal will not only improve the lives of our workers, but the lives of our parents, children, and families as well. As Trump has willfully put the needs of Wisconsin’s working families behind those of the wealthy and well connected, the choice in this year’s election could not be more clear.”
“Trump not only doesn’t understand the immense challenges facing working families, he has been an active roadblock to their progress,” said Congresswoman Gwen Moore. “Vice President Biden’s new plan to expand home care options and ensure protections for workers is vital, both for our seniors and those on the frontlines everyday fighting the coronavirus pandemic. We need to treat our home care and other direct support workers with respect, and Vice President Biden will do just that.”
“Coronavirus has made it even more clear that we need serious changes in our child care system. Child care has always been expensive and difficult to access in Northwestern Wisconsin, but the pandemic made things even worse,” said State Senator Janet Bewley. “Joe Biden understands this — he knows how hard it is to raise a family and he has been a single parent himself. As we continue to confront the pandemic, his plan to help save families money by making high quality child care affordable is a huge step in the right direction for our families.”
“Vice President Biden has shown a commitment to ensuring our seniors can live their lives with dignity. His proposal to expand access to home health care and in-home support is much needed, especially as we have seen the devastating impacts of coronavirus on many of our senior care facilities,” said Congressman Mark Pocan. “Not only does this plan ensure our loved ones will be able to get the care they need — it will also open up new economic opportunities for workers across the Badger State.”
Later this week, Congresswoman Gwen Moore will be joined by SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry for a virtual event focused on the plan in Milwaukee, while Senator Maggie Hassan will join State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski for a virtual event in Wausau.
More information about the plan is available HERE.