Why Child Care

Virginia Promise Partnership

The Importance of Early Childhood Education

Healthy development in the first five years of life provides the building blocks essential to a child’s long-term success. Experiences and interactions during this critical time directly impact the learning, health, and behavior of individuals for the remainder of their lives.
High-quality child care programs provide environments, experiences, and relationships that promote learning and development to ensure children have a strong start. Those who participate in quality early childhood programs are more likely to finish high school, secure high-paying jobs, avoid incarceration, and lead happy, healthy lives.

The Problem

Despite compelling studies demonstrating the importance of early education, Virginia does not adequately invest in early childhood education. This lack of investment has left families and childcare providers across to the Commonwealth with:

High Costs

As of October 2020, the average annual cost in Virginia for full-time center-based care is $14,063 for infants and $10,867 for four-year-olds, accounting for up to 47 percent of a single parent’s income.

Lack of Access

An estimated 47 percent of Virginia’s residents live in child care deserts with limited access to quality early childhood education programs as of July 2019.

Inadequate Funding

Only 5.1 percent of Virginia children eligible for child care assistance under federal law received it through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) in Fiscal Year 2016, the most recent year for which data are available.

Inequity

Lack of access to quality child care programs disproportionately impacts children from low-income backgrounds as well as children who are Black or Hispanic, further expanding the school readiness gap.

Low Wages

As of 2018, early childhood educators received an average annual salary in Virginia of $20,425, well below the federal poverty line.

OUR BOLD GOAL

Our bold goal is to ensure all Virginia families have access to affordable quality child care by 2030, regardless of income. Improving access to quality programs will benefit Virginia’s young children, working families, employers, and communities more broadly.

Children

who participate in quality early childhood programs are more likely to finish high school, secure high-paying jobs, avoid incarceration, and lead happy, healthy lives.

Families

with access to early childhood programs are able to remain in the workforce and benefit from increased earnings, savings, healthcare coverage, and other employment benefits.

Providers

with adequate resources and compensation benefit from gainful employment and lower turnover rates.

Businesses

whose employees have access to quality early childhood programs maintain a steadier and more consistent workforce as well as decreased recruiting costs.

Learn More