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Reshaping the system

It’s not enough for us to create and support innovative programmatic solutions that combat economic insecurity for women. Without meaningful change in public policy, women will never have all the pieces for success.

This is why The Women’s Fund supports legislative policy and reforms to: End predatory lending and Make child care more accessible and affordable.

Child care accessibility and affordability

Finding affordable, quality child care is one of the largest barriers facing low-income single mothers who are working to provide for their families.

Single mothers earning less than $30,000 pay on average 39% of their income for child care. Currently, in the five counties The Women’s Fund serves, more than 2,000 families who are eligible for child care subsidies that offset this expense are on a waiting list. We are advocating for increased funding for these important subsidies.

Because safe, quality childcare is critical to these working mothers, The Women’s Fund is also advocating for changes in the law that would require all child care centers to be licensed and inspected.

Currently, more than 40% of childcare facilities in Alabama are license-exempt, which means they are not required to meet minimum health and safety standards.

Predatory lending reform

Although they are advertised as short-term emergency credit, predatory loans carry exorbitant interest rates, some as high as 456%, and drain millions of dollars from Alabama’s economy as fees to mostly out-of-state companies. Borrowers—usually women—are frequently forced to take out additional loans to pay off the first and become trapped in a vicious cycle of debt.

As a member of the Alliance for Responsible Lending in Alabama (ARLA), The Women’s Fund supports statewide predatory lending reforms that are more fair for consumers; specifically lower interest rates, allowance for longer repayment periods, and limiting the number of loans allowed per year.

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