Parishioners across the Rochester Diocese are being asked to sign letters asking for increased state child-care funding for low-income working parents.
This effort is being coordinated by the diocesan Public Policy Committee in observance of October as Respect Life Month. The committee is setting target dates of Oct. 17-18 for letter-signing in parishes, with the documents to be returned to regional Catholic Charities representatives by Nov. 13 before being forwarded to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state leaders.
The letter, which was composed by the Public Policy Committee, requests that $190 million be allocated in the upcoming budget year to cover 13,000 eligible children statewide.
"With Pope Francis we, members of the Catholic Diocese of Rochester, believe that every infant and toddler deserves access to nurturing, developmentally appropriate care and the supports needed to be successful in school and in life," the letter states.
It goes on to list the payoffs of providing quality child care for families in need: child success, based on the fact that 75 percent of a child’s brain growth occurs before he or she reaches kindergarten; jobs, "because parents will be more reliable workers and the early child care sector provides jobs in our communities"; and lower taxes, "because there will be fewer demands on public assistance and other tax-funded programs."
The committee is suggesting that parishes supplement the letter-writing campaign by running bulletin announcements. Among the points to make in these notices are that child-care subsidies, by easing the financial burden of raising children, may reduce the number of abortions; the United Kingdom has reduced its poverty rate substantially by increasing aid for child care and other measures; and child-care funding helps reduce parents’ job absences and tardiness, disciplinary action and turnover while increasing productivity.
Further details about the Public Policy Committee initiative, including fact sheets on childhood poverty for each of the Diocese of Rochester’s 12 counties, can be found at http://www.dor.org/index.cfm/catholic-charities/public-policy/child-poverty.