We envision a care system in which children are in safe, engaging environments that fit their family needs with caregivers who are fairly compensated and treated with respect.
Care for Kids is a project of Voices for Utah Children. Our goal is to uplift the voices of parents, providers, and caregivers who depend on a well-functioning, affordable, sustainable system of care for children. Our purpose is to educate advocates, policymakers, and government officials on the state of child care and the reforms necessary to create a thriving system that supports children, families, and educators.
Utah’s mixed-delivery system for child care provides critical educational and developmental opportunities for thousands of children while their parents work in and serve their communities. High-quality, affordable, and accessible child care is critical public infrastructure, on par with housing and roads. Without sufficient quality child care, Utah cannot grow in ways that produce positive economic and community outcomes. The child care sector is in market failure, with families and child care providers no longer able to sponsor the countless positive externalities created by this important public resource. Our current approach to child care is antiquated, unsustainable and inequitable. To best serve children and families throughout our state, we must commit to reforming and investing in our child care system.
Our efforts to reform Utah’s child care system must:
1. Center the well-being of children
Support the health and safety of all children in care.
Offer quality educational and developmental opportunities.
Strive for nurturing, attentive environments where building positive and secure relationships are the priority.
Incentivize and support the care of all infants, toddlers, and children’s mental and social-emotional well-being through trauma-responsive care, special education assistance, and early intervention.
Prioritize consistency, stability and connection.
Strive for equity in education and equitable access for all communities, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, immigration status, and zip code.
Focus on the best interests of the child and our community-at-large instead of the perceived deservedness of parents.
2. Support the families that use child care
Ensure affordability for families of all income levels.
Support every family's choice for care, whether that means having one parent stay home or families that choose to pursue care outside the home.
Offer convenient and accessible options regardless of geographic location.
Provide a variety of child care choices based on family needs, values, and circumstances.
Celebrate cultural differences and respect all families.
3. Respect the professionals who provide care to children
Acknowledge the true cost of providing quality care to children, above and beyond what families are able to pay individually.
Ensure wages and benefits that acknowledge the importance of early care and education of Utah’s youngest children.
Support child care environments that support the physical and mental wellbeing of child care professionals.
Create professional development pathways that are reasonable, attainable, and affordable.
Reward commitment to the field of early care and education, above and beyond formal education.
4. Integrate child care into our communities
Recognize the unique character of, and need for, child care businesses.
Be creative, flexible, and inclusive when generating new child care capacity.
Develop cooperative and respectful relationships between private child care businesses, non-profit community programs, local education authorities, and individual families.
Include new child care facilities and businesses in community and economic development plans.
5. Consider potential impacts on future generations of Utah families
Build for maximum sustainability–don’t just plug the holes.
Recognize the role of high-quality child care and early education in breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
Commit to ongoing investment in child care as an extension of public education.
Create educational pathways that ensure a skilled child care workforce in the future.