Some 500 organizations, including Strategies for Children, have signed a letter that asks Congress to make a $50 billion investment in child care.
“Child care’s essential status demands dedicated relief that acknowledges the unique needs of a system that was already teetering on the edge of financial viability before this pandemic,” the letter says. “Specifically, we request that Congress provide at least $50 billion in total funding dedicated to child care to offer immediate relief to providers, educators, and families during this crisis.”
“Without these investments, we risk the disintegration of our child care infrastructure, leaving children, families, and child care workers with no system to return to as we recover,” the letter adds.
“At the beginning of this crisis, nearly 50% of child care providers predicted that they would not survive more than two weeks of closures without support; many of these closures have begun, and, without a clear end in sight, the widespread effects are already being felt. Providers that remain open are struggling to cover their operational costs, with reduced enrollment, especially as they try to protect the wellbeing of their workers and the families they serve during this pandemic.”
In addition, “Parents are also struggling – as child care and school closures have forced many parents to stay at home without work, and they are unable to afford tuition or co-payments to hold their spots in child care programs.”
The National Women’s Law Center led this effort, gathering signatures from an impressive array of national, state, and local organizations, including:
National Association for the Education of Young Children
National Association of Social Workers
Zero to Three
Massachusetts Association for Community Action
Massachusetts Association for the Education of Young Children
Iowa Women’s Foundation
Mississippi Head Start Association
Jacobs Ladder Educational Childcare Center
Yellow Duckies Family Child Care
Sunshine House Early Learning Academy
United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley
As the letter explains, a $50 billion investment could:
• address long-standing child care problems that predate the coronavirus pandemic
• move the country through its existing child care emergency
• and build a strong foundation for a brighter future
The need for a functioning child care system is, the letter says, “critical for getting families back to work and school as we recover from this crisis. The profound gaps in our child care infrastructure already cost American families and the economy about $57 billion each year in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue. If Congress does not take action to ensure that child care providers can serve essential workers now, and survive until this crisis ends, so that they and families around the country can return to work, that loss will grow exponentially, impeding the full recovery of the American economy.”
Please check out the letter. Share it with your professional networks. And send a copy to your Congressional delegation. Let them now that now is the time to invest wisely in early education and care so that once it is safe, families will have the support they need to educate their young children and to go back to work themselves.