Dear Members of Congress,
We’re hearing from families daily that child care - in one way or another - is one of the most pressing barriers during this crisis. Child care is an essential support for families, no matter the economic scenario, but is particularly crucial in this time of crisis. While the 3.5 billion to CCDBG and the small business loans included in the CARE Act are a start to help alleviate this crisis, families also need support. The relief checks that are being sent out to individual families likely won't even cover child care for most because of the high cost of care.
The size and scope of the impact of this public health crisis on the child care sector is profound and growing, and immediate action must be taken to provide, at a minimum, $50 billion to support the child care sector to:
- Eliminate copayments or tuition and fees to “save spots” for families during this crisis and ensure that providers are still paid the full amount for that enrolled slot.
- Paying providers to cover ongoing operating costs while they are closed for public health reasons, or open but with reduced enrollment to serve children of essential workers;
- Providing essential duty pay for child care workers in programs that are remaining open during the crisis;
- Purchase materials for providers that cannot afford or even find supplies on their own (especially sanitation supplies like hand sanitizer and gloves).
- Provide training and medical support for child care providers on health and safety practices in response to the virus, available in all relevant languages.
There are over 2 million paid providers and educators in the U.S., and we cannot afford to lose them! Without child care, frontline workers won't be able to continue doing their essential jobs and, as we emerge from this crisis, we may find there is no child care system to return to as families go back to work and school. Providers who are open are struggling without support for public health training, and working in hazardous conditions for long hours. We need to support them in their critical role in our public health infrastructure. And families -- including frontline workers -- shouldn't have to worry about how they will afford child care in this time.
Act now to ensure the child care system is stable so parents and caregivers have child care to return to when this crisis is over.