Kelly Goodman: As a social worker, I have seen how limited access to quality child care affects families

The Build Back Better Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that Congress must take advantage of. The debate must stop, and a vote must happen.

Why? Because the futures of millions of kids and families are at stake.Kelly Goodman

Did you know that the Build Back Better Act would guarantee publicly funded pre-K for all 3- and 4-year-olds? This would expand access for more than 6 million children and save families an average of $8,600 per year, per child. Universal pre-K would also ensure more children are kindergarten-ready and would help to close the country's education gap.

I have worked in the Portland metro area for nearly 30 years as a social worker. I have seen how limited access to quality childcare affects families. Parents, unable to find care for children, must leave the workforce, or reduce hours — creating financial strain for families. Furthermore, children who miss out on quality early learning are less likely to graduate from high school. Alternatively, kids who participate consistently in high-quality, early-learning programs are more likely to earn higher incomes than their peers.

This Build Back Better Act is too important to keep debating. Investing in our children isn't controversial. It's essential. The livelihoods — and futures — of our children and families are waiting for support, and time is running out.

Congress must listen to constituents like me. Join me in urging our congressional delegation to vote "yes" for the Build Back Better Act. Our future will be all the brighter for it.

Kelly Goodman is a resident of Oregon City.

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