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FFYF Statement on Build Back Better Status

News December 16, 2021

In response to the news that the Senate will recess for the year without voting on the Build Back Better Act, First Five Years Fund (FFYF) Executive Director Sarah Rittling released the following statement: 

“It’s been 25 days since the House passed the Build Back Better Act, and with every day that passes, America’s child care system moves closer to collapse. Passing this transformative bill will ensure early educators — a record number of whom are leaving the sector for decent pay and benefits — are fairly compensated for the extraordinary work they do. Capacity at care providers and preschools will go up, allowing parents to choose the care options that are right for them. The astronomical prices families are forced to pay for care will drop. Millions more children will be given the opportunity to start kindergarten ready to learn. And it will speed up our economic recovery by allowing countless parents to enter or return to the labor force. Parents, providers, and employers are desperate for the opportunities this bill will deliver. Build Back Better’s positive impact will be felt for generations. It’s time we deliver on that.”

For years, America has faced a worsening child care crisis that continues to hold back working families and early educators alike. A variety of recent analyses paint a clear picture of the harm inaction on Build Back Better will have for the nation. Consider the following:  

  • If Build Back Better isn’t passed, families will see child care prices rise at least 14% by 2025. 
  • The child care sector has lost over 105,400 jobs since February 2020, and child care providers across the country are reporting that they’re having to turn down business because they don’t have the staff capacity to care for more children. 
  • Almost 60% of child care providers are experiencing staff shortages — a 36% increase from before the pandemic.
  • 87% of child care center directors report that it’s more difficult to recruit and retain qualified staff now due to low wages and no or unsatisfactory benefits. 
  • Almost 60% of child care providers report that they are experiencing staff shortages — a 36% increase from before the pandemic. 
  • 40% of  parents now say they have gone into debt to pay for child care, and 28% say they’ve had to choose between paying for child care or paying their rent or mortgage on time.
  • Half of parents in the U.S. report spending at least 25% of their income on child care. 
  • A new U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation report shows that states are losing out on upwards of $9.39 billion in economic activity each year due to child care disparities and breakdowns.
  • More than 1 in 4 parents say they’ve had to choose between paying for child care or paying their rent or mortgage on time.
  • McKinsey & Co’s latest American Opportunity Survey has identified lack of access to child care as a major barrier to mental and economic wellbeing for American families. 
  • American families are losing $30-35 billion in income annually because parents, unable to find or afford child care, are forced to leave the labor force or reduce working hours to care for their children. 

The First Five Years Fund is the leading bipartisan federal advocacy organization working to ensure all children from birth through age five have equal access to affordable, comprehensive, high-quality care and education to support their healthy development and help them achieve their full potential in school and life. FFYF seeks to expand federal support for all early learning and care opportunities that are high-quality and focused first on serving those children most-at-risk.


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