Update COVID-19 Recovery: Working Together as an Early Learning & Care Community
The following is a statement from a group of national early learning and care organizations committed to supporting the child care industry with information and resources about the COVID-19 economic relief measures passed by Congress.
During the last few weeks, the harmful health and economic effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus have grown severe for families and businesses across America. Understanding that the child care industry was poised to experience the effects of this crisis even more acutely as a result of the challenges many providers were already facing, many of us in the advocacy community came together to demonstrate our unity through a set of common recommendations to Capitol Hill. This week, Congress finalized a sweeping economic stimulus bill to provide relief to America’s families, small businesses, and major industries as they struggle with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis – the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act – or CARES Act.
The Ounce joins the nation’s leading child advocacy organizations in sending a letter to Congress detailing essential recommendations for lawmakers to consider as they develop an economic stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Child care providers already operate on very small margins and extended closures over the next several weeks or months could potentially put a substantial percentage of them out of business permanently, worsening the existing child-care crisis facing our nation.
At the same time, working parents who are on the front lines of battling this pandemic still rely on child care so that they can continue to work and provide much-needed services during this crisis. This means that the many child care facilities being asked to remain open to provide this essential service for working families are operating with only a fraction of the income they normally receive.
The Ounce and our partners urge Congress to include robust supports to the child care industry, and support America’s working families, as they develop the economic stimulus package.
- Ensuring child care providers who are closed have access to federal funding that will allow them to pay staff and cover fixed costs.
- Ensure that providers who are staying open during the crisis have the support necessary to do so and that the children attending their programs – particularly children of first responders, health care providers, and other essential personnel – are receiving assistance.
- Sustain the market today and into the future by providing assistance to child care as any other small business receiving relief.
- Prioritize any new Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Grants as proposed by the Senate Democrats and ensure that any grants would include eligibility for licensed and licensed-exempt child care providers (including, home-based, center-based, non-profit, and for-profit).
- In any pending or future industry-specific stimulus proposals, the unique needs of licensed and licensed-exempt child care providers, as essential pieces of the national infrastructure must be considered.
- Provide funding to support child care programs that are being asked to remain open to serve essential and front-line workers, in which the programs are provided additional funding to cover the increased risks, pay and costs of maintaining services.
- Consider regulatory flexibility to ensure the child care sector receives adequate funding.
- Provide funding and authorization for Child Care Development Fund State Administrators to make grants to programs who are at risk of closing but are providing care in areas of high need, such as first responders and health care.
- Ensure significant funding to support the authorized flexibility included in the recently released guidelines from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).