Legislation Supports Child Care Providers Facing Extraordinary Financial & Public Health Challenges Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and additional colleagues in introducing the Child Care is Essential Act to address the child care crisis exacerbated by COVID-19. The legislation would create a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund to stabilize the child care sector and support providers in their efforts to safely reopen and operate.
“Our economy simply cannot recover if parents cannot go back to work because they do not have access to safe, reliable child care,” said Senator Hassan. “Our bill makes significant investments in child care centers that have not only been hit hard financially by the COVID-19 pandemic, but now also face added challenges in instituting new health and safety policies to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19. Child care centers in New Hampshire and across the country desperately need this relief, and I hope our colleagues will join us in moving forward this critical legislation.”
“One of the biggest obstacles facing working families during this crisis is safe and affordable child care. To safely re-open our economy and put Granite Staters back to work, child care providers need our support to stay in business and safely care for children as this public health crisis continues,” said Senator Shaheen. “The COVID-19 pandemic impacts every part of our society and economy, and child care is one of the most important pieces of our response as we work to recover our economy. This legislation is an important step forward to deliver the financial support centers need to stay in business and implement essential safety protocols so parents can go back to work while knowing their children are in safe hands.”
As additional businesses begin asking employees to return to physical workspaces, families need child care—but child care providers across the country are struggling to keep the doors open as they operate with significantly reduced capacity and face increased operating costs with limited revenue. Many are even at risk of permanent closure, resulting in the potential loss of up to 4.5 million child care slots across the country. Without federal help, families will struggle even more to find child care—with recent estimates from the National Women’s Law Center showing that it would take at least $9.6 billion per month to keep current child care providers in business.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Senators Hassan and Shaheen have worked to prioritize support for child care centers, including for the children of frontline workers. Through the CARES Act, New Hampshire received almost $7 million for child care, including for health care workers who are on the frontlines of this crisis. The Senators previously called on Senate leadership to include strong financial support for the child care system in the next COVID-19 relief package. Senator Hassan also led her colleagues, including Senator Shaheen, in urging the Office of Child Care at the Department of Health and Human Services to take additional steps to expand child care options for health care workers and others on the frontlines responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A one-page summary of the Child Care is Essential Act can be found HERE.