thread is pleased to share an endorsement of the creation of a Child Care Trust Fund and Alaska House Bill 149 to help address the complex challenges to ensuring affordable, quality child care for all Alaskans.
Child care is a vital infrastructure for Alaska and key to a thriving economy. It is a sector working to ensure all other sectors work while preparing our young children for school and life. Yet it is underfunded and needs public investment for long-term stabilization. Alaska’s child care system was in crisis prior to COVID-19, and is now on the verge of collapse. State stabilization funding, possible through the American Rescue Plan Act, has shored up child care (many small businesses), but is not enough for long-term survival. In December, more than 50% of programs reported being concerned about closing their doors in the next 6-12 months.
Last week the Alaska House Finance Committee approved House Bill 149 (HB149) to move forward in the Legislative process. If passed into law, this bill will give Alaska’s early educators the option to raise their collective voice in support of a viable child care system. It also creates a Child Care Trust Fund that will provide financial support to the child care system for years to come.
“thread sees great potential for more public investment to strengthen and support child care that will benefit all of Alaska,” said Stephanie Berglund, thread CEO. “This is an opportunity to invest in the licensed, affordable, quality child care needed in our state.”
The demonstrated short-and long-term benefits of quality child care for young children include stronger language development, higher high school graduation rates and increased long-term health. Alaska will also gain stronger families and businesses that rely on child care to contribute to the economy.
thread is calling on child care advocates — early educators, families, community leaders — to join in support of HB149. Early childhood is a period of great opportunity to help shape a child’s view and interaction with the world. thread believes it’s time to show our young children they are worth our investment.
- Attend Thursdays with thread: A Conversation with Rep. Zack Fields on March 31 at 6 pm. Register here
- HB149 language Read here
- Thursdays with thread: Alaska’s Child Care Workforce Bill with Rep. Zack Fields, introducing HB149 (November 2021) Watch here
- House Labor & Commerce Committee Meeting with testimony from Stephanie Berglund, thread CEO (March 16, 2022) Watch here
This Alaska legislative session is an unique opportunity to influence policy
change for our child care system. You can show your support by sending a
message to your Alaska legislators today!