This week, a letter signed by FFYF and a group of leading early childhood and business organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that urges significant, dedicated funding for the child care industry be included in the “skinny” COVID-19 recovery package, if that is the route Congress is to take in the short term.
Although both chambers of Congress have recognized the vital role child care plays in economic recovery, the groups wrote to McConnell out of concern that financial assistance for child care was eliminated from the Senate’s recovery package based on the “skinny” proposal released by the Majority Leader last week. The child care provisions included in the original Senate Republican HEALS Act, while insufficient, would provide $15 billion for the child care industry, and the Child Care Is Essential Act, passed by the House last month with bipartisan support, would provide $50 billion in child care stabilization funding.
In this new letter to Leader McConnell, the group called for Congress to build on the $15 billion investment proposed in the HEALS Act and continue the strong bipartisan support for the child care industry. The signers wrote that “It is without reason that child care would be excluded from any current or future recovery proposals, particularly given the strong support from your caucus. Therefore, we again call on you to address this undeniable and overwhelming need by providing support to give the child care industry, working parents, and our nation’s businesses some certainty amidst the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.”
The child care industry is facing unprecedented challenges as the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue. Months of closures, loss of revenue, and uncertainty due to surges in COVID-19 cases have pushed this already strained industry to the brink of collapse. Across the country, 40% of child care providers say they will close permanently without relief according to a recent survey from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
America’s economic recovery is not possible without a strong child care system. Since May, about 7 million people each week have not worked because they didn’t have child care, and a Chamber of Commerce Foundation survey found that one in five working parents are unsure if they will be able to return to their pre-pandemic work situation because of the lack of child care. Businesses across the country are also concerned that the child care crisis will impact their employees’ ability to return to work.
Without significant funding to stabilize the child care industry, any forthcoming COVID-19 relief legislation will fall short. A recent bipartisan national poll found that voters overwhelmingly see child care relief as indispensable to America’s economic recovery—more than 8 in 10 voters across party lines favor a federal child care stabilization fund in the upcoming COVID-19 recovery package, even with a price tag as high as $50 billion.
The letter was signed by:
- Bank Street College of Education
- Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC)
- Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA)
- Council for a Strong America (CSA)
- Early Care and Education Consortium (ECEC)
- Educare Learning Network (ELN)
- First Five Years Fund (FFYF)
- First Focus Campaign for Children
- KinderCare Learning Centers
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
- Save the Children Action Network (SCAN)
- The Committee for Economic Development (CED)
- The Ounce of Prevention Fund (The Ounce)
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce