NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)President Joe Biden made a pitch for his “Build Back Better” plan in Connecticut on Friday, specifically focusing on proposed investments in child care.

Like so many mothers, especially during the pandemic, it’s hard for Christine Yearwood to return to work.

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“Child care has been inconsistent, school has been inconsistent, so certainly the combination of things has taken a toll,” she told CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas.

When her children were younger, Lizzette Smith Colon said help from her family was her only child care option.

“When I was trying to put my kids in a day care by me, it was like $1,000 a month, and I’m like, I can’t pay that,” she said.

It’s a challenge the president said he, too, was familiar with during his early years as a young senator and single father when he earned $42,000 a year.

“That was a decent salary, and I could not afford the child care,” Biden said.

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It’s a connection to American families the president hopes will help provide leverage to his stalled “Build Back Better” agenda that includes providing free or low-cost early childhood education.

“No middle class family will pay more than 7% of their income on child care,” Biden said.

The focus is not just on families. Early childhood advocates in New York say while the state provided grants to help survive the pandemic, it was not nearly enough.

“Early childhood workers, whether they’re teachers, staff, directors, are paid much less than they deserve,” said Gregory Brender, with the Day Care Council of New York. “What we’re seeing in a lot of programs is the loss of staff because the salaries and the benefits don’t match the credentials required.”

The hardships, Biden argues, keep American families and the economy lagging behind.

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Still, the $3.5 trillion price tag of the entire package is a tough sell, even for some in his own party.

Aundrea Cline-Thomas