Blog | September 29, 2020

A Call on Congress for New Federal Child Care Investments

Law enforcement, business leaders, and retired military generals underscore the importance of additional federal child care dollars

The widespread and multifaceted ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic have touched nearly every aspect of our lives. One significant yet underreported effect of the pandemic is its damage to the child care sector. This damage is particularly important because the child care sector will be a vital part of our state and national recovery, now and in the near future.

First, there are the long-term impacts of high-quality child care programs. High-quality child care programs are invaluable. They not only provide a safe environment for infants and toddlers but also critical brain stimulation to help ensure young children meet their developmental milestones. Research shows that quality early childhood development can play a pivotal role in a child’s meeting educational milestones. Reaching those milestones on time allows children the opportunity to succeed in school and life.

There are also the more immediate benefits provided by these programs—benefits that will directly impact our economic recovery from the pandemic. These benefits include giving working parents the peace-of-mind necessary to return to their jobs, secure in the knowledge that their children are in safe, caring, supportive, and educational environments.

Law enforcement leaders, business leaders and retired military leaders who are members of Council for a Strong America ask for members of Congress to support the Child Care and Development Block Grant in FY21 appropriations, following the expiration of the pending Continuing Resolution, and with additional emergency investments now.

We ask that Congress establish a child care stabilization fund, including direct grants to both center-based and home-based child care providers. These emergency funds will help all child care providers stay in business and operate safely while boosting current workforce productivity, bolstering economic growth, and helping prepare our future workforce for the demands of an increasingly competitive global market.

The child care sector urgently needs this support. Mandated closings during the spring were costly to these small business owners, forcing many to close permanently. Capacity restrictions and the expenses associated with complying with new health and safety regulations have put even more strain on the system. With fewer providers and less capacity, many caregivers have opted to remain home and not return to the workforce themselves. This hurts employers even further.

A 2019 ReadyNation study found an annual economic cost of $57 billion in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue as a result of the infant-and-toddler child care crisis. Furthermore, 86 percent of primary caregivers of infants and toddlers reported that problems with child care hurt their efforts or time commitment at work—before the pandemic.

Our nation’s economic recovery depends on swift, bipartisan action from Congress this month. More must be done to take care of our nation’s youngest generation, support our small business child care providers, and allow parents to focus on their jobs and careers. Prioritizing significant additional funding to help stabilize the child care industry in the next emergency funding package is paramount. Congress must work together to save the child care sector’s (and our nation’s) present and future.

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