augusta free press news

McClellan releases plan calling for universal child care in Virginia

Jennifer McClellan
Jennifer McClellan

State Sen. Jennifer McClellan is rolling out a Universal Child Care and Early Learning Plan that calls for a $4 billion investment in early childhood education, and provides increased access to affordable child care for more than 500,000 Virginia children.

The plan, announced Friday by McClellan, who is running for the Democratic Party gubernatorial nomination, comes as Virginia’s child care system has faced major strain during the COVID-19 crisis. Nearly 1,000 Virginia’s child care facilities are still closed, which has sent a ripple effect through Virginia’s economy – including women dropping out of the workforce at record rates.

New Bureau of Labor Statistics data out this month showed that women accounted for all of the U.S. economy’s job losses in December – and that Black and Latina women were disproportionately impacted.


McClellan’s plan would call for child care and early learning to be recognized as a public necessity that will be affordable and accessible for all Virginia families.

The Universal Child Care and Early Learning Plan would:

  • provide Virginia families that earn up to 200 percent of the poverty level with waivers for free child care.
  • ensure no family in Virginia would pay above 7 percent of their income for child care.
  • create more than 80,000 new jobs for Virginians in the new child care system.


McClellan’s child care and early learning plan is the first plank in her three-part plan to invest in Virginia’s education system from birth to career.

“Rebuilding Virginia starts with our families and children,” McClellan said. “The coronavirus crisis has worsened Virginia’s child care and early learning crisis, and dramatically impacted lives for so many families. We need to address the underlying problem: underinvestment in early childhood education and lack of affordability for too many Virginia families.

“Today, I am proposing a new plan that will ensure universal child care and early learning for Virginia families. The Universal Child Care and Early Learning Plan will guarantee every family access to affordable, high-quality child care. This is a necessary investment into the children, families, workforce, and economy of Virginia. This child care and early learning policy will make Virginia a national leader in child care and early childhood education affordability and help get Virginians back to work.”

augusta free press
augusta free press