Good morning. I’m Peter Chen and am a Senior Policy Analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP). New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) is a nonpartisan think tank that drives policy change to advance economic, social, and racial justice through evidence-based, independent research, analysis, and strategic communication.
NJPP supports A4747, and encourages further work to increase child care availability for parents who need it.
New Jersey’s lack of supply for child care, especially for infants and toddlers is well-documented. Based on the most recent market-rate study, enrollment in licensed child-care centers is roughly 10,000 for infants and 17,500 for toddlers. Meanwhile, the population of children under 3 in the same time period was over 300,000.
The problem is widespread, with 46 percent of New Jersey residents living in a child care desert, where there are three times as many children as licensed child care slots, according to analysis by the Center for American Progress.
Although these deserts include urban, suburban, and rural areas, they disproportionately exist in lower-income neighborhoods.
New Jersey families and children can only achieve true freedom to live their lives to their full potential if they have accessible, affordable, quality child care. Improving access in these child-care deserts, whether through the use of incentive payments, contracted slots, expansion of Early Head Start, or other methods, will help ensure that child care is not a luxury, but a necessity.
Thank you for this opportunity to testify today.