By Sarah Francis, MomsRising.org
"My husband and I have to work opposite shifts because child care is unaffordable. He works from 6am to 2:30pm, and I have to meet my husband at his job to drop off our son so that I can be to work by 3:00pm. I miss out on putting my son to bed." - Kristina, MomsRising Member
Unfortunately, Kristina's story is not unique. In today's economy, we hear story after story of parents struggling to find and afford quality child care and preschool.
Today we have a chance to do something about it.
Will you contact your Congressperson today to urge them to help keep families working and young children learning? http://momsrising.democracyinaction.org/o/1768/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=1013
Congress is working on the budget right now, so hearing from you in this moment could make a big difference.
You see, the President's proposed budget includes significant new investments in programs that help families access affordable, high-quality child care, and early education programs. So now we need to make sure Congress knows that the proposed increased investments in the President's budget are critical for families.
By contacting your Congressperson today, March 4th, you'll be part of thousands of families joining together to "March Forth" on March 4th in support of increased funding for child care, Head Start, and child nutrition. With all of our voices descending on Congress for one day we can work together to keep families earning and children learning. Together we can remind Congress of the importance of these programs for children, parents and our economic recovery.
*After you take action via the above link, take a moment to also send this blog post to friends and family so we can have as many people "Marching Forth" as possible today, March 4th.
Why does early care and education matter?
Research shows that the best way to improve educational success is to invest in our littlest learners. In fact, studies show that quality early education and preschool opportunities for at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds is the best way to prevent the achievement gap. 
Quality early learning opportunities also save us tax dollars in the long run -- it costs a heck of a lot to fix the problems created when kids don't get the early education they need. Every $1 invested in early learning will later return $7 to our society by reducing the need for remedial education, welfare, and criminal justice services. 
Unfortunately, quality, affordable child care isn't available for most families. As another MomsRising Member, Leah writes: "Quality child care is difficult to find. Affordable quality child care is non-existent. And it's almost impossible to run a household on one income these days. No matter which way we slice it, we are barely making it."
What does the proposed budget do for early care and education?
Well, it goes a long way to help families like Kristina's and Leah's with key initiatives like:
$1.6 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). This would be the largest increase in funding for the program in more than 20 years. CCDBG directly helps families afford quality childcare
$989 million increase for Head Start and Early Head Start helps ensure that low-income and at-risk children have access to quality early learning opportunities
The reauthorization of key programs like Child and Adult Care Food Program, which would ensure that millions more children across our country have access to healthy foods.
Together we can make the proposed budget a reality and help families across the country keep working and keep kids learning. Contact your Congressperson with one click today!
And please don't forget to also pass this link along by forwarding this email to your friends and family. If we all speak up today, we can change the future for families tomorrow.
Together, we are a powerful voice for women, children, and families!
P.S. For a detailed look at the President's budget proposal for FY 2011 go to: http://www.nwlc.org/details.cfm?id=3802§ion=childcare
P.P.S. A big thanks to the National Women's Law Center for their work on this issue
 League of Education Voters http://www.educationvoters.org/tag/early-learning/
 Pre-k now. The benefits of high-quality pre-k. http://preknow.Com/community/factsheets/benefits.Cfm