Providing working families with opportunities for quality child care has a positive impact on more than just families.

It also has a positive impact on the local economy.

That's why I’m proud to lead 33 KinderCare Early Learning Centers in Indiana, employing 675 talented, dedicated teachers and helping to boost jobs and wages in the state. But more importantly, each day in Indiana we care for more than 3,500 children, who benefit from high-quality educational and developmental experiences.

Right now, as Congress works to finalize its tax reform legislation, lawmakers have an opportunity to help families with work-related child care expenses by strengthening the longstanding Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.

Many parents rely on the CDCTC to help pay for their child's enrollment at our centers. The CDCTC is crucial to making high-quality child care more affordable and accessible for working parents — particularly single moms. And better access to quality care helps give parents the flexibility to stay in, or return to, the workforce.

On one hand, I'm grateful both chambers of Congress preserved the CDCTC in their proposed tax bills. It matters that we invest in and promote high-quality child care in the same way we invest in and promote saving for retirement and college. The tax code has traditionally been used as a way to address real-world problems faced by many Americans and encourage behaviors that benefit society at large. With the CDCTC, lawmakers must not stop at simply maintaining this vital credit. They also should work to make it available to more low-income families.

The overwhelming research shows high-quality child care makes children more likely to do well in school and become productive adults later in life. A study conducted by Nobel Laureate James Heckman found that every $1 invested in early childhood education programs generates $7 in benefits to society.

As we look to Washington, D.C. for leadership, we hope lawmakers, including our own Sen. Todd Young, will take these benefits into account.

As Young and his colleagues work to finalize their tax reform legislation, congressional leaders should keep in mind the CDCTC is the only tax credit designed specifically to help families with the cost of work-related child care expenses.

I’m advocating for strengthening and expanding the CDCTC because it will help the families we serve here in Indiana. But it’s not just about our state; nearly 15 million children under age 6 in the U.S. have working parents, and the issue of access to child care affects all of them.

Our lawmakers promised to stand up for Indiana families. But without a solution to make high-quality child care more accessible, families, particularly lower- and middle-income families, will continue to be left behind.

I urge lawmakers to support modernization of the CDCTC and any other legislation that expands access to high-quality, affordable child care. This is the best way to ensure America's families and communities can truly thrive now and into the future.

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Michael Canavin is Great Lakes regional vice president for KinderCare Education. The opinions are the writer's.

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