Thank you Chairperson and the Committee for your time today,
My name is Travis Ballie and I am a resident of Ward 7 in Southeast DC, testifying today on behalf of Jews United for Justice. I have long been a volunteer with JUFJ because I know they are committed to acting for social, racial and economic justice. I first got involved with them to advocate on behalf of Paid Family Leave. Today, I am testifying in support of continuing our work to provide for District families. I am calling for $25 million be dedicated to fund the Birth to Three for All Act in the FY 2020 DC budget.
I do not have kids and I have no plans to have kids. I am here today because I am seeing my Ward 7 neighbors who do have families hurting and being pushed out of DC because they cannot choose between paying the rent and paying childcare. Neighbors like my friend Natika, who can no longer afford her $21,000 a year childcare costs in DC. Natika invested in DC and is a proud Ward 7 property owner. Later this year, she is leaving DC to move to Illinois, where she can rely on family to offset some of her childcare costs.
I also want to speak about my neighbor, Heys Cooper. Here is a quote she asked me to read:
“Affordable child care in Washington DC is an oxymoron. There is a cost to every option. I qualified for subsidized child care through the DC Department of Human Services because my child was born with a disability. However, very few child care centers were equipped to care for her. Therefore, even with assistance, I had to hire an in home nurse and find a facility in Maryland. I am currently in $25k of credit card debt because I charged my child care needs. These funds could have been used for her college savings account or for so many other long term educational needs. Changing child care in DC requires a more comprehensive examination into what families need and ways to make child care work while supporting healthy children.”
Please think of Natika and Heys Cooper this budget season. DC’s children and families need $25 million to fund Birth to three for All in FY2020.