A group of 10 Republican senators have released the details of an economic relief package that includes $20 billion in funding for the child care industry, underscoring the sentiments on Capitol Hill about the essential role of child care for children, families, and the economy. This proposal comes as a response to President Biden’s broad economic stimulus proposal, which includes $40 billion in dedicated funding for child care, along with other important family supports.
Without question, child care is essential to America’s economic recovery and long-term success, but providers need relief now to be able to stay in business while the pandemic continues to devastate the economy. Since the outset of the pandemic, every COVID-19 relief proposal from Democrats and Republicans has included dedicated financial support for the beleaguered child care industry. After providing a down-payment in December, Congress should work quickly to pass a relief bill with enough dedicated funding to fully stabilize the child care industry through this pandemic.
In December, after months of debate and negotiations, Congress passed a bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill that included $10 billion in funding for child care – an important down-payment to help keep child care providers in business for a few months amid our nation’s prolonged economic crisis. Across party lines, a strong majority of voters believe child care is very important to getting the economy going again.
The economic crisis stemming from the Coronavirus pandemic has pushed the child care industry to the brink of collapse:
- On average, child care providers across the country are experiencing a 47% increase in operating costs at child care centers and up to 70% increase in costs for home-based care providers, while enrollment is down by 67% on average.
- 56 percent of child care providers say they are losing money every day they remain open, confronting an unsustainable reality of declining revenues and rising operational costs, according to a recent survey by NAEYC.
- U.S. is set to lose 4.5 million child care slots, which amounts to roughly half of the nation’s child care capacity;
- Parents — especially women — will be unable to return to work, with as many as 7 million people a week not returning to work due to a lack of child care;
- Single parents, parents with young children, and parents who can’t work from home are most at risk to stop working completely due to a lack of child care.
Acting now to provide relief to American families and businesses will help ensure child care providers can weather the storm and remain in business through this pandemic, and also help ensure families can access and afford care when the economy gets up and running. FFYF recently joined colleagues in a letter to Congressional leaders urging lawmakers to prioritize child care in upcoming relief efforts, as well as a letter thanking the Biden administration for its relief proposal supporting child care providers and families.