Last week, a group of women from the DC Working Moms email list met with some people from Legal Momentum's Family Initiative, which is trying to mobilize grassroots support for public investments in quality child care, preschool, and after-school care.
It was an interesting conversation -- the repeated theme was highly educated, well-off women commenting on how difficult they found it to navigate the crazy child care system and wondering how people without those sorts of resources ever managed to do it. It sounds like DC has a particular problem with infant care -- even if you have the money for a child care center, the waiting lists are incredible, and for some reason there's not much regulated in-home care.
The legislation that encompasses all of the issues that they care about is the Balancing Act, introduced by Lynn Woolsey. This bill is a wish list -- more money for child care, paid family leave, guaranteed benefits for part-time workers -- rather than anything that's likely to get passed into law anytime soon. But if you think that it's a good idea, write your Representative and ask him or her to cosponsor it. Even better, go to a town meeting sometime this election season, and ask about it during the open question period. The idea is to convince elected officials that this is something that their constituents -- that means you -- care about.