Murkowski examines solutions to support affordable, high-quality childcare

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Alaska Senior United States Senator Lisa Murkowski took part this week in a U. S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine barriers to access childcare and to discuss solutions.

    The senator asked during the hearing what needs to be done in order to have quality providers that families are able to afford.

    "I'm looking at this and I'm saying, all right, what is it that we have to do in order to really make sure that we have quality providers that our families are able to afford the care for their children, but we've got to make it work here, and so I don't want us to be in a situation where we were with No Child Left Behind where the one size fits all approach didn't fit a rural state like Alaska and we had to work and fight for exemptions and waivers from everything. Not because we didn't want to achieve high standards, but because some of them were virtually and practically impossible," she said.

    The Senator said that it's clear that childcare providers in the country, including Alaska, can barely make ends meet.

    "I think it's it's pretty clear out there that our child care providers in this country, certainly in my state are really barely making ends meet providers are competing with other employers for workers. That makes it a challenge. Far too many parents cannot afford high-quality childcare, even if they can find it, and so how we address this and treat it with the serious nature that it demands? Recognizing that we have to value the services, the care, the commitment that come from childcare providers for our little ones, and if you look at it, it doesn't look like we've placed that value on it and that's certainly what we're hearing from you all this morning," Murkowski said. "We're looking to ways to ensure that we are providing more support that we are really providing for value, but I also recognize that it's not always about the money. The money is important, but I've looked at the build back better and some of the provisions within that, and how it might apply in my state."

    The House and Senate Majority have included proposals for child care and universal preschool in the Build Back Better Act.  The measure was approved by the House, but stalled in the Senate.

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