“Here’s the stark truth: when the time comes, we will not be able to rebuild our economy if this country’s child care system has collapsed beneath the economic burden of this pandemic.” — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN)
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, childcare providers are increasingly impacted. While lawmakers craft plans for our country’s future, it is imperative that they recognize the importance of affordable childcare available for working parents. Senator Warren aptly notes how “when the economy can start to safely get back on track, millions of parents will not be able to return to work or reopen their own small businesses if they cannot find safe, affordable, and reliable care for their children.”
This is why Senator Warren and Senator Smith’s latest $50 billion childcare investment plan is so important; as an investment to stabilize the childcare system, keep providers in business, and ensure parents are able to go back to work when it is safe to do so, this plan supports childcare programs such as the Burke Center Foundation for Childcare at the YWCA Princeton to ensure that parents and women can successfully participate in the workforce after the pandemic.
Why is Legislation so Important?
While Congress provided only $3.5 billion in emergency funding to childcare in the CARES Act, the latest estimates indicate that the childcare sector will need at least $50 billion in emergency federal funding to stay afloat. Another analysis estimates that at least $9.6 billion is needed each month to preserve the nation’s childcare system during the coronavirus. Additionally, in more than half the states in the country, the cost of a year of childcare is more than a year of in-state college tuition, while the average cost of childcare for a single child is between 9% to 36% of a family’s total income. As such, accessibility to quality, affordable early childhood programs is crucial for working parents across America.
The $50 billion childcare bailout plan includes: emergency funding to keep childcare available to frontline and essential workers; aid to keep providers in business and all workers on payroll; and long-term investments to prepare the childcare market for when Americans can get back to work. On April 28, Senator Warren and Senator Smith sent a letter to the Senate leaders urging them to prioritize funding childcare in the next legislative package; the letter was signed by 29 other senators, including Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.). Now is the time to recognize that high-quality, affordable childcare is a public good, critical to the success of our children, families, and economy. Legislation can address the structural changes needed in our system.
How You Can Help
- Write a Letter to the Editor! Letters to the editor are an incredibly powerful way to make sure our elected leaders get the message. Lawmakers are reading their local papers to get a sense of what matters to people in their community. MomsRising has pre-drafted letters to help– or draft your own! You can send a LTE to Town Topics by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Let your Congressional leaders know how important high-quality early education and care is to children, to families, to the economy, and to the nation’s long-term prosperity. Ask them to invest in this badly needed $50 billion plan by writing a letter or email or making a phone call.
- Become a YWCA USA advocate and take action by joining campaigns, such as this one calling on Congress to support childcare and the nonprofit sector in the next COVID-19 stimulus relief package.