Network News: January 2024

New year, same powerful movement.


In 2023, we built incredible power together and we’re beginning 2024 with the momentum, focus, and power we need to begin building a child care system that truly works for every family. 

In our first year as a united network, we…

✅ Spent intentional time building a strong foundation together to build power for transformational wins on child care

✅ Developed a key set of shared values and policy principles

✅ Hired an amazing Network staff team dedicated to supporting states and building power as a movement

✅ Hosted the Grassroots Assembly for Child Care, convening over 100 impacted families, providers, and organizers in Washington, D.C.

✅ Developed key partnerships with child care champions and identified where we need to shift power

✅ Worked with a wide group of partners to create a strong, bold plan to win the transformative changes we seek!

We have a lot of work to do in 2024 to build a pro-child care Congress. As we send this, House Republicans continue to obstruct $16 billion in emergency funding for child care, despite the devastating impact on kids, families, and providers across the country. If they won’t act now, then when? It’s time for representation that is aligned with our values and listens to our needs. 

See ways to join the movement below!

Meet our new Organizing Director for Network Capacity, Mercedes Phelan!

Mercedes Phelan (she/her) is a radical Black feminist who is fighting for Liberation, with a focus on breaking the school- to-prison pipeline. Before working in politics and organizing she was a childcare teacher in her hometown of Rochester, New York. She came into organizing in 2017 as an Organizer at Citizen Action for New York. After founding Citizen Action’s first Rochester Chapter in 2018, the chapter went on to win its first campaign, the removal of SRO’s (School Resource Officers) from the Rochester City School District. 

Mercedes was also a part of campaigns such as the Safe and Supportive Schools Act, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, and the Campaign for Universal Childcare. She has a deep commitment to prioritizing the voices of those that are directly impacted and a strong belief in the importance of leadership development. She is a mom of two plus fur babies Rosie and Luna, and spends her free time wandering in the woods, reading socially relevant nonfiction, and trying new things, such as her latest obsessions: roller skating and succulent gardening.

Network Offerings

Join us for our All-Network Meeting on Wednesday, January 31 from 11:00am-1:00pm Pacific / 12:00pm-2:00pm Mountain / 1:00-3:00pm Central / 2:00-4:00pm Eastern!

Learn the latest updates, ask questions, and meet other organizers and leaders working to transform child care.

On Thursday, December 14, we wrapped-up our 2023 popular education series with our partners at Community Change with a celebration of this year’s child care wins! We heard from special guests at SPACEs in Action and DC Action about their recent pay parity win.

We believe shared education and knowledge is key to a strong movement. Check out all of our videos & trainings here:

Partner Events & Important Dates

  • January 15: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • January 16: 8th annual National Day of Racial Healing, hosted by W.K. Kellogg Foundation as part of their Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation work
  • January 18: HomeGrown invites home-based providers to join us on January 18, 2024 at 2-3 p.m. ET (11am-12pm PT) for Leading Together: Providers as Leaders and Agents of Policy Change, a discussion focused on HBCC providers as agents of change. We will visit the Ten Steps for Advocacy framework and provider leaders will share their advocacy journeys to becoming child care champions. Register here

Resources, Tools, & Opportunities

📣 Collected social media toolkits & resources to amplify $16B emergency funding request (English/Spanish)

📣 Toolkit to share Network explainer video from Grassroots Assembly

📣 Child Care Cliff Resources Social Presskit (Care Can’t Wait)

🚨 Network + Community Change action portal

🚨 National Women’s Law Center action portal

🚨 MomsRising #16BillionforChildCare social media toolkit

🚨 Child Care Aware of America action portal

🚨 ZERO TO THREE action portal

Recent Data & Research

➡️ Data Dashboard: An Overview of Child Care and Early Learning in the United States (CAP)

➡️ Early Childhood Education in the States: A Toolkit for State PolicymakersCAP)

➡️ State-by-State Map on Local Impact of Child Care Funding Cliff (National Women’s Law Center)

➡️ Racial Equity and Justice (REJ) Reflection Cards (Asset Funders Network)

➡️ Resources on Head Start NPRM (

➡️ Why the Child Care Crisis is a Small Business Issue (Main Street Alliance)

➡️ Supporting a Strong Start for Children with Disabilities (New America)

➡️ Webinar: Language Justice and Equity for Home-Based Child Care Providers (HomeGrown)

➡️ Post-pandemic, Latino Parents With Low Incomes Remain Concentrated in Jobs Offering Few Workplace Flexibilities (National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families)

➡️ Child Care and the 2023 Election (Child Care Aware of America)

Child Care in the News

📰 My Salary Changes Week To Week, And As A Single Mom, ‘It’s Very Difficult To Get Ahead’ (HuffPost) featuring Family Forward Oregon leader & Network Parent & Family Leadership Group member Luz Quevado

Share our Facebook post and Tweet!

📰 How to Improve Institutions For Women and Families (The Cut)

📰 As the child care industry rebounds, it might also be at risk (Marketplace)

📰 The Cost of the American Dream for Today’s Parents: $3.4 Million (Business Insider)

📰 End-of-Year Research Roundup: Three Economic Studies for Building a Better Child Care Sector (Early Learning Nation)

📰 Labor Leader Ai-jen Poo Confronts ‘the Biggest Driver of Economic Inequality That Nobody Talks About.’ (The American Prospect)

📰 Why we should eliminate childcare waitlist fees (Fast Company)

Join us in our work for universal, equitable, accessible, high-quality, affordable, and culturally relevant child care across the U.S.: