17/03/2017 9:32 AM AEDT

Ivanka Trump Said Her Dad Cared About Child Care. His Budget Says Otherwise.

Mike Segar / Reuters
Ivanka Trump told the Republican National Convention in July that her dad cared about affordable child care.

President Donald Trump said just last month in a speech before Congress that he’d like to work toward affordable and accessible child care.

His daughter Ivanka told an audience this summer at the Republican National Convention that, if elected, Trump would “focus on making quality child care affordable and accessible for all.” She’s been evangelizing for a policy to help parents balance work and kids ever since, part of her campaign to market herself as a champion of #WomenWhoWork.

Yet on Thursday, the Trump administration sent Congress a proposed budget that cuts funding for public school programs that offer working parents, particularly low-income families, access to affordable child care.

As part of a $9 billion cut to the Department of Education, Trump’s budget would eliminate funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Created in 1994 and costing about $1.1 billion annually, the centers provide before-school, after-school and summer programs for 1.6 million low-income children, primarily those of color, across the country.

Kids who attend the centers ― most located at public schools ― learn math, science and environmental literacy, among other things. They also get fed. In short, the centers offer children in grade school and middle school a safe and secure place to go after school.

After-school programs can be lifesavers for parents whose workdays don’t end when the school bell rings. They also give low-income kids, in particular, a safe and constructive place to go after school.

“[Trump’s] proposal would devastate working families,” Jodi Grant, executive director of Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group, said in a statement Thursday. “It is painfully short-sighted and makes a mockery of the President’s promise to make our country safer and to support inner cities and rural communities alike.”

We have seen that the plans that come out of the Trump administration are not in touch with the real needs of working parents.Julie Kashen, policy director of Make It Work

Research from the nonpartisan Afterschool Alliance has shown that these programs in particular help kids raise their math and language test scores and improve school attendance rates.

Trump’s budget reveals the emptiness of his previous statements on child care, Julie Kashen, policy director of Make It Work, a nonprofit advocacy campaign working toward economic security for families, told The Huffington Post.

“We have seen that the plans that come out of the Trump administration are not in touch with the real needs of working parents,” she said.

Ivanka Trump, who holds no official position in her father’s administration, has reportedly been working behind the scenes to advance a $500 billion child care tax credit.

But a tax credit along the lines she’s proposed would likely be more beneficial for higher-income parents, who can afford to pay upfront for child care and wait a year to get a break on their taxes.

Lower-income parents, many of whom pay little to nothing in federal taxes, would find a tax credit inadequate as they pay for care on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Seventy percent of the tax benefit would go to families who make at least $100,000 a year, according to an analysis from the Tax Policy Center. And 25 percent would go to families earning at least $200,000. 

The mismatch between the school day and the workday is an ongoing challenge for working parents.

“There’s nothing more killing for parents, or women in particular, than having a child that gets out of school at 2:30,” Harvard economist Claudia Goldin told The Huffington Post last year, explaining that the short school day keeps a lot of parents, particularly women, from rejoining the labor force full time.