Early Care and Education (ECE)

Child Care Down Payment

Colorado will receive approximately $123M to shore up the child care sector from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The total national child care appropriation of $10 billion will provide essential pandemic related relief for the child care sector, however this funding is inadequate to mitigate the economic devastation of serving children safely. While these funds are intended to support providers facing reduced enrollment and increased costs, it is likely this will be a temporary lifeline at best.

It is encouraging to see that some members of Congress view this $10B as a down payment. “Child care is the critical infrastructure that we have to make a significant investment in in order to have an economic recovery,” says Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.). Clark told CNBC that she’s grateful for the $10 billion in funding, “it’s just not nearly enough to make sure that we have a child-care sector that survives this pandemic.”

About 56% of child-care providers report losing money by staying open, according to the latest survey from the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Moreover, 42% of the December survey respondents say they have taken on debt using personal credit cards to pay for supplies and other items. A recent Time magazine article details how the economic hit to the child care industry is unique.

While public school administrators have also had to grapple with new safety protocols and increased expenses as a result of the pandemic, they are government funded. Daycares aren’t. Society decided long ago that children have a right to a grade-school education to which even non-parents are required to contribute, but there is no similar consensus for sharing the cost of caring for smaller kids.

Marcy Whitebook, the founding director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley

Whitebook says there’s no good reason for that societal failure. But the result is clear: “because we’re asking parents to foot the bill and it’s so expensive,” she says, “it means that the only way to really make that happen is to essentially exploit the people who are doing it.”

If you agree that every child deserves access to high-quality affordable child care, join our advocacy efforts to increase government and employer supports. Like us on Facebook and learn more at careforallchildren.org. #careforallchildren