Presidential Candidates’ Child Care Platform

As president, Hillary Clinton will:

  • Make preschool universal for every four-year-old. Despite research showing its benefits, only about half of the roughly 8.1 million three- and four-year-olds in the United States are enrolled in preschool, with only one in four enrolled in publicly funded preschool. Hillary believes every child deserves the same strong start.
  • Significantly increase child care investments so that no family in America has to pay more than 10 percent of its income to afford high-quality child care. The cost of child care has increased by nearly 25 percent during the past decade, while the wages of working families have stagnated. While families across America are stretched by skyrocketing costs, child care has become more important than ever before, both as a critical work support for the changing structure of American families and as an essential component of a child’s early development. Hillary will fight for every family in America to have access to high quality, affordable child care by significantly increasing the federal government’s investment in child care subsidies and providing tax relief for the cost of child care to working families.
  • Improve the quality of child care and early learning by giving a raise to America’s child care workforce. One of the key drivers of high-quality child care is a supported and effective child care workforce. Yet, despite the high cost of child care, too many workers are not receiving a living wage, which fuels turnover and undermines the quality of care, and also causes many of those caring for and educating our children to live in poverty themselves. Hillary will create the Respect and Increased Salaries for Early Childhood Educators (RAISE) initiative.
  • Double our investment in Early Head Start and the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership program. To ensure our children have a strong foundation to learn, Hillary will double the number of children served by Early Head Start and the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership program.
  • Expand access to evidence-based home visiting programs. These programs, which provide home visits by a social worker or nurse during and directly after pregnancy, significantly improve maternal and child health, development and learning.
  • Award scholarships of up to $1,500 per year to help as many as one million student parents afford high-quality child care. More than 25 percent of all college students are balancing school with raising a child.
  • Increase access to high-quality child care on college campuses by serving an additional 250,000 children. Student parents face many challenges, with greater financial and time constraints than many of their peers. College students who are parents leave school with an average debt that is 25 percent higher than non-parents. The demands of parenting mean that student parents spend two hours less on average per day on educational activities. And while nearly half of student parents attend two-year colleges, less than half of all two-year college campuses in America offer on-campus child care services. Student parents need our support. Hillary will work to dramatically increase access to child care on campus by increasing funding for campus-based child care centers.




Current federal policies regarding child and dependent care do not reflect either the needs of American families or the contributions of women to the American workforce. The high cost of quality care burdens working families while the tax code provides disincentives for women to reenter or enter the workforce.

The Trump plan will:

  • Help every family with the costs of child care and elder care.
  • Empower families to choose the care that is right for their family.
  • Create a new, dynamic market for family based and community-based solutions.
  • Incentivize employers to provide child care at the workplace.
  • Provide six weeks of paid leave to new mothers before returning to work.
  • Exclude child care costs from the income tax from birth to age 13, the period where children need supervised care, and will include adoptive parents as well as foster parents who are legal guardians of the child. The exclusion (also known as an above-the-line deduction) will cover up to four children per family.
  • While an above-the-line deduction is a significant tax benefit, it may not provide sufficient relief to the lowest-earning taxpayers. To get real benefits to lower-income taxpayers who can’t use the exclusion against the income tax because they have no income tax liability, the Trump plan would also provide them a boost in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This boost would be half of the payroll taxes paid by the lower-earning parent, and would be subject to an income limitation of $31,200. For a parent making $15 per hour at a full-time job, the EITC boost in the Trump plan could mean as much as $1,200 extra per year.

Allowing every family, whether they take the standard or itemized deduction, to deduct childcare expenses from tax will help get the incentives right for women who opt to work outside the home. The current tax code discourages their work.

  • After finding the right care for their circumstances, families should also have an option to set aside extra money to further foster their child’s development. The Trump plan will provide Americans the option of opening dependent care savings accounts (DCSAs) so that they can plan for future expenses relating to child and elder care. When established for a child, parents can use the accumulated funds to enroll their kids in a school of their choice or for other enrichment activities that prepare them for their future. Funds remaining in the account when the child reaches 18 can be used for higher education expenses. To encourage low-income families to establish DCSAs for their children, the government will provide a 50 percent match on parental contributions of up to $1,000 per year. That’s an extra $500 per child for families that qualify. This will encourage savings, and position families to be better able to withstand the unexpected costs of childrearing.
  • Finding quality child care is a challenge, particularly in low-income and rural communities. The Trump plan will reduce regulations that disproportionately favor center-based care to create a new, dynamic market for family and community-based solutions. Families will be given the power and information to choose who will provide care and where that care will be provided without fear of loss of government benefits.



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