Working with the Illinois State Board of Education, local high schools, community colleges and local employers, our youth Cabinet is striving to expand vocational training and apprenticeship programs for all our high school students so each of them has a clear path to an attractive career.
Another critical initiative of the Children's Cabinet is reducing young children's exposure to lead. Democrats and Republicans stood together in signing a bill that requires all schools and day care centers to test their drinking water regularly.
After realizing that many airports fell short in providing breastfeeding mothers with privacy and comfort, Duckworth is now leading the fight for mom-friendly airports--recently introducing a bill, the Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act, that would require all major U.S. airports to provide private "lactation rooms."
"We made progress in recent years by requiring employers to provide new mothers a private place other than a bathroom for nursing. This is a crucial step, but what about the breast-pumping mother who travels?" Duckworth wrote in a recent op-ed.
The legislation also requires that the areas are accessible for moms with disabilities. If passed, the mandate gives airports two years to comply.
So, why should this be a concern for the government in Washington? Why not just let parents fend for themselves? The answer is that quality child care is important for the children who benefit from it. It's also critical to enabling more Americans to participate in our workforce, improving their own economic standing and our country's competitiveness as a whole.
Studies show that affordable, quality child care is a smart investment with long term positive effects on a child's education, health, drug and alcohol use, and other social behavior well into adulthood.
According to some research, it returns $8 in benefits for every $1 invested. It is universally accepted today that ensuring a child's preparedness to enter kindergarten is a critical step for their future success in school.
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