Parents hold the federal government accountable for child care challenges
A new poll from ZERO TO THREE in collaboration with Morning Consult makes clear that parents of infants and toddlers want federal policymakers to do more to address challenges facing their families – especially when it comes to reinstating the enhanced Child Tax Credit.
August 2023 Poll Results Highlights:
- Parents hold the federal government accountable for child care challenges. In fact, a plurality (47%) of parents say the government is most responsible for child care challenges, such as long wait lists, high costs, and limited options.
- Congress’ failure to secure funding for the child care system in the upcoming year will result in additional challenges for parents. One-third of parents say they anticipate having to rely on family for child care (34%), reduce the amount of money they spend (32%), and having difficulty finding quality child care they can afford (32%) if funding is not secured. Furthermore, nearly nine-in-ten parents with children in formal child care say they are concerned about their provider raising prices (88%) and being unable to retain teachers (86%) if Congress does not secure child care funding.
- Parents want the federal government to put child care at the top of their legislative agenda. Nearly nine-in-ten (86%) parents say it should be a priority for Congress to secure funding for the child care system in the upcoming year.
Child Care is critical to infant and toddler development our nation’s economy
Families want and need access to quality, affordable child care that offers their children a safe environment, nurturing relationships with caring adults, and positive early learning experiences, while supporting their own ability to work.
This poll was conducted between August 18-August 21, 2023 among a sample of 804 parents of children ages 0-3. The interviews were conducted online and the data was weighted to
approximate a target sample of parents of children 0-3 based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, educational attainment, and gender by age. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Comparisons are made to a survey previously fielded in April
2023 among the same audience.
Previous Poll Results
April 2023 Poll Results Highlights
Democratic and Republican voters are in broad agreement that Congress should make children and families a priority. Congress must address the debt ceiling without trading away critical supports that their constituents depend on. The ZERO TO THREE/Morning Consult poll found:
- 87% of parents with infants and toddlers say that addressing the needs of children and families should be either a top or important priority in this budget cycle.
- Six in ten parents said it should be one of Congress’s top priorities.
- Notably, there is bipartisan agreement among both parents who voted Democrat in 2022 (94%) and those who voted Republican in 2022 (90%) that Congress should prioritize the needs of children and families in the upcoming federal budget.
- 84% of parents of infants and toddlers surveyed are concerned about the prospect of Congress cutting child care, including 60% who are very concerned
- More than two in three (68%) of respondents said they anticipated challenges finding affordable high-quality child care without congressional action.
- 64% expected to struggle to work because of lack of child care options.
- Six in ten respondents (60%) predicted that inaction would lead to late or missing mortgage payments, rent, or utility bills.
- 82% of parents are concerned about cuts to special education programs. 83% are concerned about cuts to food assistance and nutrition.
- 82% of parents are concerned about cuts to affordable housing programs.
- 87% are concerned about cuts to healthcare.
- 84% are concerned about mental health—including strong majorities who say they’re very concerned about cuts to those programs.
Babies and their families must be a top priority
Robust public funding is needed to ensure that all babies, families, and early childhood professionals have access to the high-quality programs and supports that they need to thrive. This includes access to quality, affordable child care, healthy food assistance and nutrition, and housing.
This poll was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of ZERO TO THREE between April 27-May 1, 2023 among a sample of 811 parents of children 0-3. The interviews were conducted online and the data was weighted to approximate a target sample of parents of children 0-3 based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, educational attainment, and gender by age. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
November 2022 Poll Results Highlights
The expansion of the Child Tax Credit in the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act provided critical resources for families with infants and toddlers and led to a historic reduction in poverty. However, when the enhanced monthly credit expired at the end of 2021, much of the economic gains resulting from the policy faded. The ZERO TO THREE/Morning Consult poll found:
- More than four in five (85%) parents say it is important for Congress to reinstate Child Tax Credit reforms, with bipartisan agreement on the issue. 94% of parents who voted for a Democrat in 2022 and 77% of parents who voted for a Republican in 2022 listed this priority as being important.
- A look at responses by race/ethnicity showed strong support for action to reinstate the expanded Child Tax Credit among white, Black and Latine parents:
- 85% of white respondents, with 52% rating it “very important”
- 86% of Black respondents, with 57% rating it “very important”
- 91% of Latine respondents, with 67% rating it “very important”
- Nearly three-fourths of all respondents say that Congress should not pass any more tax breaks for wealthy corporations until it acts to reinstate the expanded, refundable Child Tax Credit. This finding was similarly bipartisan, with 85% of parents who voted for a Democrat in 2022 and 67% of parents who voted for a Republican in 2022 agreeing with the statement.
- 64% of parents oppose denying the expanded Child Tax Credit to families without a working parent or who are in a lower tax bracket.
- Overall, parents want federal policymakers to take action to address their challenges, with two in three (64%) saying that Congress needs to do more to address challenges they experience raising their infant or toddler.
The Child Tax Credit is Critical to Family’s Economic Security
Families need a range of equitable policies that bolster economic security when children are young and their development most sensitive to economic want. Ensuring adequate income is basic to creating the environment in which young children thrive. The enhanced Child Tax Credit led to immediate and potentially lifelong benefits, with increased resources helping to lead to more stable housing, better access to nutritious food, easier access to high-quality child care and reduced family stress – all of which support children’s healthy brain development. This was particularly important for Black and Latine families, who, as the State of Babies Yearbook shows, are more likely to live with low income and poverty and were disproportionately hurt by Congress’ failure to maintain the expanded credit.
Learn more about how the expanded Child Tax Credit supports families’ fundamental needs and why Congress must make it permanent.
This poll was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of ZERO TO THREE between November 10 – November 13, 2022 among a sample of 800 parents of children 0-3. The interviews were conducted online, and the data was weighted to approximate a target sample of parents of children 0-3 based on age, educational attainment, race, ethnicity and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.