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Virginia Task Force: Make Childcare Affordable for All

First Lady Northam
During the Facebook Live event, First Lady Pamela Northam endorsed the task force's goal to make childcare accessible to all by 2030. (Source: Virginia Promise Partnership/Facebook Live)

A task force made up of childcare and early childhood education advocates is calling on Virginia to make childcare services available and affordable to everyone by 2030. 

The Back to Work Virginia task force made the recommendation to First Lady Pamela Northam and several state legislators during a virtual conference on Facebook Live.

No concrete financial or policy commitments were made, but the three lawmakers present expressed support for the idea. Those lawmakers were Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax), Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico) and Del. Delores McQuinn (D-Charles City).

“Republicans and Democrats -- we all agree on this. This is a great place for us to have a conversation,” Dunnavant said during the livestream.

Back to Work Virginia announced the Virginia Promise Partnership, a coalition of 15 organizations and foundations so far that will lobby lawmakers and fund advocacy campaigns to further this childcare effort.

A spokesperson for the task force says the partner organizations will also form a policy committee with the goal of laying out a financial plan in the next year to reach the 2030 deadline.

During the Friday announcement, task force co-chair Stephen Moret said the group initially rallied around several recommendations for Virginia, but eventually came to a single conclusion:

“[The task force] ultimately landed on a moonshot bold goal: a goal that by 2030, all Virginia families can access quality child care regardless of their income,” Moret said. The task force says this need was highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Back to Work Virginia task force was formed earlier this year by the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. It includes members from a range of different backgrounds, including the governor’s office, George Mason University, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, PNC Bank and Dominion Energy.