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families & the federal budget

Raising the Minimum Wage and Affordable Child Care Go Hand in Hand

This post, authored by Traci Donnelly, originally appeared on TalkPoverty.org. A minimum wage increase will not help families exit poverty by itself – we need other work supports that ease the economic strain on families. TalkPoverty.org is dedicated to demonstrating that we know how to dramatically reduce poverty; we just need to build the political will. Make sure to like TalkPoverty on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

A few years ago, a young man named Israel and his wife enrolled their daughter in one of our Early Head Start programs. Israel, the son of Mexican immigrants, worked long hours as a barber. His wife worked too, but the family still lived below the poverty line.  Initially, they were simply glad that their daughter had a welcoming and safe place to go every day, and that they could work more hours without paying for costly childcare. But gradually Israel began to notice something he hadn’t anticipated.

Holding it together is overrated

I’m known as the oldest of seven, the product of overachievers, a hyper-competent “woman who always has answers and knows where she’s going,” the go-to girl–the one who always seems have it together.

And as I move deeper into the second half of my life, I’m questioning how this affects me–what is the price I pay for stepping into this personae? As a life balance evangelist, I’ve come a long way: I’ve let a lot of perfectionist tendencies drop, am less controlling than before and am a big advocate for the “good is good enough” message–but what would it look like for me to be MORE vulnerable? To be less prepared, less polished, more messy and human than I have ever been before?

It takes a lot of energy to told it together. My yoga teacher Jenn shared a story about a photographer who shot Salvador Dali over a stretch of five minutes (with time-lapsed breaks in between). Seeing Dali go back and forth between “DALI!” and a tired, slightly slumped over normal guy in a chair was fascinating. It showed how much energy it took for the artist to be on stage, in personae–to “hold it together.”

Child Care Centers and the Quality Improvement Catch-22

This post, authored by Carol Burnett, originally appeared on TalkPoverty.org. Quality, affordable childcare is essential to helping low-income working families gain economic security. TalkPoverty.org is dedicated to demonstrating that we know how to dramatically reduce poverty; we just need to build the political will. Make sure to like TalkPoverty on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Quality, affordable child care is not only right and necessary to prepare children to learn; it’s also needed if low-income working parents are to have a shot at working their way out of poverty.  Our nation’s funding source that is supposed to help low-income families in this regard is the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). Unfortunately, due to inadequate funding, only 1 out of every 6 eligible children nationwide is actually served by CCDF.

From Cuddling to Canvassing

 

Lately, our idea of a hot date is to fling ourselves onto the couch. Then my husband casts me a knowing glance. I nod.  And the big turn on begins. With the touch of Casanova, he fondles not just one, but five remotes, as we settle in to enjoy the PBS series about Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Sexy? Not even I am that clinical.  But there is something satisfying about watching this series with the man I love.  Together, we learn tidbits of history that help us make sense of our world. We gasp at a sepia image of shacks dotting an urban waterfront.  Could that be Seattle? These communal moments spark some of our best conversations.  Strange, I know, but every night we drift off to sleep wanting more.

And the inspiration lingers.  Yesterday, the words of Eleanor Roosevelt gave me the courage to face the dreaded box I've been avoiding all summer, the one that's overflowing with snail mail:

Sign our thank you card to keep the MOMentum going!

Take Action!

Do you have a second to sign a very important thank you card to the White House? Click here to sign on to the thank you card now: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/WH_Summit_thanks/

Why the card? Well, we (and you) just had a… drumroll please…. MAJOR VICTORY! Many of MomsRising.org's top policy priorities and members were just prominently featured at the White House Summit on Working Families on Monday.  

MomsRising member Shay Chan Hodges' story is featured onscreen at the Summit. 

You're Invited: SEIU Facebook Chat on Working Families

Today, too many working Americans are falling further and further behind. Thanks to decades of failed policies, there just aren’t enough good jobs with good pay or access to quality, affordable child care and health care services for enough of America’s workers.

How can we begin to fix this? It’s a conversation we think is worth having and we'd like you to take part.

Join us TOMORROW, June 20 for a live Facebook Chat on Working Families. The conversation starts at 2:00pm EST (11am PST) on SEIU’s Facebook Page. RSVP here.

Our chat experts will include SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and an SEIU child care, and an SEIU home care worker. They’ll take your questions on how workers everywhere can come together to build power through a union, increase access to child care and home care and demand a fair deal and better wages for all workers and their families.

Before the chat:

Calling Young Artists! National Contest to Raise Awareness About Poverty

With the swipe of a paintbrush or click of a camera, your child can make a difference in the fight to end poverty.  Not only that, they have the chance to win exciting prizes, and have their artwork showcased in a national campaign.

As part of our mission to build the political and public will to cut poverty in half in ten years, the Half in Ten Campaign is hosting our first ever nationwide art competition with the theme Our American Dream—What Will It Take To Get There?, and the June 30th submission deadline is only two weeks away. We are calling on everyone, ages 4 to 24, to unleash their creativity and engage in a national conversation with their families, teachers, and community members about poverty and what we need to do as a nation to tackle it.  

The Surprising Truth Behind Tax Day: Where Your Taxes Go

If you groan about Tax Day, you’re certainly not alone.

But what if Tax Day was something we could be proud of as members of a democracy? Would you feel differently about paying taxes if you knew they were going to support public services that you, your family, and your community rely on – such as public safety, roads and bridges, schools, health care, social services, and national parks?

Millions of Americans file their federal income tax returns on April 15 each year with no idea what the government actually does with all that money.

4/14 Facebook Chat: Why the Child & Dependent Care Credit Isn't Enough!

Tax Day can bring a lot of emotions.  Ahead of tomorrow, people across the country are in the home stretch of filing taxes.  Myself included -- I have  date with my computer tonight to turn in my taxes!With the cost of child care exceeding the tuition of colleges in most states, the current tax credits aren't enough to help families thrive. Imagine if Tax Day provided much needed relief for the cost of child care?The National Women’s Law Center and MomsRising invite you this Monday, April 14th at 11am PT/2pm ET for a Facebook chat where we'll discuss child care and taxes ahead of Tax Day. We’ll dive into  the lowdown on why the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit isn’t enough and how the Child CARE Act and other efforts in Washington could help families across the country.

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