WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced a series of policy recommendations designed to address challenges facing the nation’s middle class families. Stemming from the President’s Middle Class Task Force, the recommendations include an expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit as well as a significant increase in child care funding for low-income families.

Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, released the following statement upon the announcement:

“Today President Obama proposed substantial investments in America’s middle class, including a doubling of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and an additional $1.6 billion dollars in federal child care funding through the Child Care and Development Block Grant. We are pleased to see President Obama’s acknowledgment of the importance of these critical initiatives to the American middle class and the overall economy.

“Doubling the CDCTC will expand access for moderate income families, helping working parents defray the high cost of care for their young children. Indeed, this recommendation by the President’s Middle Class Task Force is an appropriate step in the right direction. However, because the credit is not refundable, our most vulnerable families are unable to benefit from this investment. In fact, a refundable Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit would benefit 7.4 million more American families who need to pay for child care, but whose modest incomes do not provide them with a federal income tax payment to reduce. We applaud the president’s recognition of the importance of this program, but urge him to press for additional changes to ensure this credit benefits the seven million families who need it most.

“President Obama should be lauded for his proposed investment in child care funding – the largest one-year increase in two decades. High-quality child care builds a foundation for the healthy development of young children, and ensures they have what they need to reach their full potential. These funds will further enhance the capacity of quality child care programs, serving an additional 235,000 children living in low- to moderate-income families. Simply put, this additional money will help families struggling to join the middle class reach that goal.”