As a Save the Children Action Network advocate and a parent, I am frustrated with our nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly when it comes to child care. While the media is finally highlighting the child care industry’s plight and policymakers are taking note of its importance, Congress has yet to pass a stimulus package with sufficient funding.
The childcare industry is indispensable to millions of American families, to the American workforce and economy. Child care is a bipartisan issue with overwhelming support from voters and policymakers alike.
According to a SCAN poll, 82% of Republican voters and 94% of Democrat voters support federal assistance to childcare providers. Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Child Care is Essential Act with support from both Democrats and Republicans — including $50 billion for the childcare industry — while the U.S. Senate included $15 billion for childcare in their recovery package.
This demonstrates a consensus that the child care industry is important. Is consensus not enough? Action must be taken before it is too late. And, it almost is.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, child care costs are 47% higher and enrollment is down by 67%. Two of five providers are certain they will close permanently without federal funding. Twenty-one percent of companies have had employees quit and 13% of parents have lost jobs due to lack of child care.
We can’t forget the months of learning loss for millions of American children. How will they ever catch up?
I urge our members of Congress to act now. I urge them to work together to pass a stimulus package that includes robust funding for the childcare industry.
The time for talk is over. Our workforce, economy and the future promised to America’s children depend on it.