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State-by-State Map on Local Impact of Child Care Funding Cliff

State-by-State Map on Local Impact of Child Care Funding Cliff

Last Updated: July 1, 2024

On September 30, 2023, critical child care funding from the American Rescue Plan expired. This funding helped 220,000 child care programs remain operational and helped 10 million children and their families access affordable child care. Now that this stabilization funding has expired, child care programs across the country are being forced to raise their prices or close their doors permanently.

The below map shows how much each state could gain if Congress passed $16 billion in emergency child care funding, which President Biden and many congressional Democrats have called for. Additionally, for relevant states (🟨), we have linked to local news stories that spotlight how the expiration of this funding has impacted families and early educators in that state.

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC
Source Note: The numbers cited in the above map are estimates provided by the Office of Management and Budget on November 2, 2023

Map Key

🟨 – Includes links to local news stories on the impacts of the funding cliff
🟦 – Does not include local news stories

Local Stories on Funding Cliff

Alabama

WBRC: Status of Childcare 2023 Report outlines challenges day care, early childhood education providers are experiencing in Ala.

…Many of the centers have been receiving federal dollars to supplement their workers to help stabilize their operations during the pandemic.

Delyne Hicks says, “When we were receiving the funding, we were able to step up and we were meeting those high quality teacher-student ratios.”

That funding expired at the end of September, and now these childcare centers are competing to keep their workers, who can easily get higher pay at fast food restaurants

…Lakesha Petty, Director and Owner of Pamper Me Nursery, told us she’s had to cut back on hours for some infant care because it’s become so difficult to hire quality staff members. It’s the same story with a number of childcare providers.

[Pulled from video transcript] Delyne Hicks: As our program this year as that funding was cut and is going away, we’ve had to raise our rates just a little bit to be able to see if we can’t keep that quality staff.

Read more here.

WBMA: Childcare costs rising as worker shortages persist, new federal funding proposed

Families across Alabama face escalating costs for daycare and a shortage of options. Federal pandemic dollars are no longer coming in to help support the industry…“I just got a call from one program that had to close a classroom with five teachers out,” remarked Joan Wright, Executive Director at Childcare Resources in Birmingham.

She explained other daycares are cutting back on hours, closing at four in the afternoon because they don’t have enough staff. Parents are paying much more than they did before COVID. “Some rates have jumped 50-60 percent,” said Wright. Infant care is up to $200-$250 a week.

Read more here

Alaska

Alaska Beacon: Stagnant funding results in Alaska pre-K school closure, instability for vulnerable children

Meadow Lakes Head Start, a preschool in Wasilla that has 45 students, will close down at the end of the year. Half of the students will move on to kindergarten and the rest will have to find another preschool. The board of the nonprofit CCS Early Learning, which operates the Meadow Lakes program, made the decision at its January meeting.

Board President Michelle Greco has volunteered and worked with Head Start schools for the last 15 years. She said the decision comes on top of a deep cut to enrollment at the beginning of the year. The board, which runs five Head Start facilities in the region, had to cut 50 state-funded slots because they cannot afford them.

“We cut and cut and cut,” she said. “We cut bus routes, we were trying to cut everything else we can cut before we got to here.” But by next year, CCS will serve 95 fewer children.

…The federal government pays for 80% of the program and for several decades, Alaska met the full 20% match. That has slipped over the last decade. Now the state funds roughly half of the match, and care centers have to find the rest of the money.

…Understaffing has meant the centers cannot accept more students despite overwhelming demand. Fewer students mean the centers qualify for less federal funding. The lack of funding led to the school closure decision.

…COVID relief funds and one-time funding from the state have been absolutely essential to keep programs open and keep child care providers employed, Moe said.

Read more here.

Anchorage Daily News: Alaska child care providers struggle to stay open as pandemic-era relief funds dry up

In the last three years, 133 child care programs in Alaska have closed, including 34 in the past six months, according to Berglund. Just 62 new facilities have opened since early 2020 — a net loss.

 Anchorage high school teacher Nora Matell’s child care bill for her two young children in September increased by nearly $1,000 compared to her August bill. With that increase, Matell said child care will now account for half of her yearly income: nearly $3,600 per month for full-time care.

 Hillcrest’s director, Christina Eubanks, attributed the 23% fee hike last month — which shakes out to about $400 more per child — to the end of the federal funding. She said its loss has already felt like “a Band-Aid being ripped off.”

 “Child care businesses used those relief funds to just limp along,” said Blue Shibler, executive director of Juneau’s Southeast Alaska Association for the Education of Young Children. “Now that they’re gone, all the challenges child care businesses faced before the pandemic are even worse now.”

Read more here.

Arizona

AZ Central: Arizona child care providers in limbo as federal funding runs out

…Her financial planning has somewhat insulated her from the funding cliff, she says, as she’s been banking on the funds disappearing as scheduled in Summer 2024. Enrollment has recovered since the pandemic, and she has opened a new child care center, made possible in part by the federal funding.

Uncertainty about future funding has caused her to forgo certain quality improvements such as replacing her aging diaper-changing tables and bonuses and salary increases for her staff.

The impact is greater for Thames, the owner of Beautiful Oasis Childcare.

She says the majority of students she serves qualify for low-income tuition subsidies, and her enrollment has fallen to around half of its pre-pandemic level. Taken together, she estimates that a whopping 85 or 90% of her revenues come from government dollars. She already charges in the ballpark of $300-500 per student per week, and says she’d have no choice but to raise those costs further if her revenues continue to dry up. That would likely make it harder for low-income families to afford her services, she says, especially if subsidies for that population take a hit, as is expected without federal action.

Read more here.

3TV/CBS 5: Many Arizona child care centers may raise prices after federal COVID-19 funding ends

Beth Brantley is the owner of Bright Ideas Childcare in Tempe, one of many pre-schools and early childhood development centers that will be increasing their prices after federal funding to help the child care industry comes to an end. “We’re going to be forced to raise our rates, and with that, parents are going to have to choose: can they afford to go to work? Can they afford to stay home?” said Brantley. “This is going to happen in most households that have early childhood care.” 

Read more here. 

 

Colorado

Trail Gazette: Larimer County Human Services puts enrollment freeze to child care program

The Larimer County Department of Human Services has implemented an immediate enrollment freeze for their Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP or CCAP).

…The decision to enact an enrollment freeze is attributed to a lack of funds, a common measure when budget constraints impact a program. Despite an annual budget infusion of $1.7M from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) since 2021, these funds, used to provide quality child care during the public health emergency, will no longer be available for Larimer County and surrounding areas from the state fiscal year 2024-2025 onwards.

…“Unfortunately, there is insufficient state and federal funding to serve all families that are eligible. We have seen a significant increase in the number of children served and our focus during this unfortunate enrollment freeze is to continue to provide access to quality child care through prioritizing families who are current CCAP clients,” stated Heather O’Hayre, Director of Larimer County Human Services.

Read more here.

Telluride News: Child care worries deepen amid scarcity of affordable housing

…In addition to the full-time position open in the toddler program, Megan Berry, the director of the Rainbow preschool and Rockies afterschool programs, has an open position on her team, too. 

“We have been advertising for a part-time position for three years,” Berry said. With the position unfilled in the Rainbow program, Berry said hours of operation were shortened, from 7:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. to instead the new hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

“We have been unable to extend our hours back to pre-COVID operations,” Berry said. 

…Berry said cutting the Rascals program that Napier runs in half also means the income for the program has been cut in half. 

“The COVID relief stimulus money has dried up, so our organization is looking at a budget in the red for the year,” Berry said.

… Berry said they do receive funding from a mill levy and some local nonprofits do help with contributions for the programming they provide and called that “a great help,” but overall there are no separate funds designated to assist with mitigating the impacts of the housing crisis.

“We just want to get the word out there to the community that we’re still struggling and we’re still in survival mode and now we just hit a brick wall with the toddler program where we’ve cut our program in half,” Berry told the Daily Planet on Jan. 17.

Read more here.

Connecticut

CT News Junkie: Survey Finds Child Care Providers Reporting Staffing Shortages and Financial Difficulties

A recent survey of more than 200 Connecticut child care providers found roughly a quarter of respondents not generating enough revenue to sustain their businesses and suggests that there are more than 4,000 vacant staff positions across the system.

…Meanwhile, more than 80% of providers surveyed by the CT Early Childhood Alliance reported having already used up the last of their COVID relief funding. Gay said he hoped the pandemic would help frame child care as a necessity for both parents and the rest of society. 

“We really need to look at it as infrastructure,” he said. “If I don’t have child care and I’ve got a little kid, I can’t go to work. We need to see it as just as important as the roads and bridges we need to go to work. We don’t expect roads and bridges to pay for themselves. It’s a public expenditure to address a common need.

Read more here.

Florida

The Apopka Voice: Study unveils critical findings and calls for action in childcare crisis

With the recent expiration of federal ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds on top of teacher shortages and lower enrollment revenue, as many as half of all Orange County childcare providers are financially unstable, placing half of the childcare spots at risk.

The findings conclude the ECE industry cannot overcome this crisis alone, and immediate action is required to prevent further setbacks.

Read more here. 

Naples Daily News: More Florida child care centers likely to close, leaving families in bind

…The profit margin at the end of this year at Child’s Path is projected to be 0.2%. That will come out to a $6,000 gain from a $3.9 million operating budget which factors in a fundraising goal of $1.6 million this year, she said.

“Our actual existence depends on raising money from outside sources,” she said.

The fundraising target is up from $1.2 million last year to help replace $576,000 received from the federal stabilization program for the past two years. 

Read more here.

Orlando Sentinel: Central Florida foster care agency declares ‘financial emergency’; kids’ care at risk

“Leaders of the nonprofit that manages foster care throughout Central Florida have told the state they are in the midst of a “financial emergency” that will cause the organization to run out of money in the coming months, leaving it unable to serve the neediest children in its care.

Though board members of Embrace Families Community Based Care are giving the required six months notice to end the organization’s contract with the Department of Children and Families, they are also warning the state that they will deplete the nonprofit’s funding “much earlier than that date.” 

Read more here.

Georgia

11 Alive: Staffing shortages and end of pandemic funding could spell hardship for Georgia childcare centers, families

…According to data released by Quality Care for Children (QCC), staffing shortages and the end of federal Covid-19 funding could mean more difficult decisions in the months ahead for centers, with the impact trickling down to families. 

As more childcare teachers and staff leave the field for higher paying industries, federal stabilization funding helped providers close some of those gaps and retain staff. But as those funds expire, centers like Whitefoord are coming up with creative solutions to fundraise and work with community partners in order to figure out how to offset their budgets and retain staff. 

“We understand the need in the community,” Jackson said. “We understand the importance because we see it, we hear it through our parents’ surveys and through the length of our waitlist. And so, for us, it’s been extremely important to continue to try to fundraise, really go out and partner with quality organizations that really can help support us and our needs.”

Read more here.

11 Alive: ‘Fight is not over’: Beloved Gwinnett County daycare begging for community help to avoid closure

Childcare facilities across the country and in Georgia are struggling to keep their doors open after pandemic-era federal funding dried up in September.

Georgia’s STABLE 4ward program was launched during the pandemic to help childcare facilities stabilize costs to maintain their programs — but that funding ended in September. Many in the industry say the pandemic changed a lot of things, which resulted in higher costs to maintain staffing and curriculum needs.

…Gwyn, who oversees Seven Oaks, said despite increasing tuition, it’s not enough to meet the demands.

“We added cameras in our schools, higher training of our staff, investing more dollars — there was so much more added to make this comfortable environment,” Gwyn explained. “That hidden overhead really created another barrier to being able to stay successful.”

The beloved childcare center that’s been recognized in Gwinnett County for decades is on the brink of closure. Coming up on 35 years in business helping out countless families, Gwyn said she is hoping for 35 more — but that doesn’t come without a fight.

“As a former child in foster care, I know the impact and devastation that instability in a child’s life can cause,” Gwyn said. “Seven Oaks Academy is at a critical juncture where the unwavering support of our community can truly make the difference between the joyous laughter of children echoing in our halls or the heart-wrenching silence that comes with closed doors.”

Read more here.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia teetering on the edge of the ‘child care cliff’

…Erica Brantley Gwyn, who runs the Seven Oaks Academy in Lilburn, has already warned parents of 40 children that they could see a painful spike in tuition. Even with more money, she’s worried that she won’t find enough teachers.

“The focus of that (ARPA) grant … was for us to increase salaries” and hire more teachers, she said. “So, we’ve done that, but now we’ve been left to hang dry.”

Atlanta-based Quality Care for Children, which supports child care providers and their families, surveyed area centers before the subsidy ended. Ellyn Cochran, the group’s president and CEO, said more than 80% of the area’s centers would probably raise rates — if only to keep their staffs now that many big employers have upped the ante on pay, she said. “You can’t go back to paying folks $12 an hour.”

Read more here.

Hawaii

Honolulu Civil Beat: Demand For Preschool Is Growing In Hawaii As Federal Funding Dwindles

… According to the initiative, the state must create over 400 classrooms in the next eight years to ensure that all eligible children opting into preschool will have a spot at school. But the end of federal Covid-19 relief dollars could undermine the state’s efforts to expand its preschool sector. 

The federal relief funds totaled over $110 million, with roughly $72 million expiring last November. The last of the funding, totaling $44 million, must be spent by September, according to the Department of Human Services.

… The state provided over 3,000 child care employees with $2,500 bonuses using the federal funding, said Dayna Luka, child care program administrator at DHS. Over 600 providers also received funds to cover rent, payroll, professional development and other expenses.

The extra money was essential, McCorriston said, especially when Seagull Schools was enrolling fewer students than usual during the height of the pandemic. That resulted in less revenue for the school even as operating costs increased due to inflation, she added.

House Bill 1964 would establish a wage subsidy for child care providers, ensuring a minimum of $16 an hour. A similar bill was introduced last year but died in the chaotic final hours of the session. 

Rep. Lisa Marten, chair of the House Human Services Committee, said the subsidies proposed in the bill are intended to replace the expiring federal Covid relief funds.

Read more here.

Idaho

Idaho Statesman: Can Boise-area child care centers survive? What their fight means for parents & employers

… In 2022, Boise used federal COVID relief funds to offer over a thousand child care workers in the city $1,500 in “incentive pay.”

In response to those payments, Nelson received calls from child care workers “in tears,” she said at the meeting. “They felt seen in a way they hadn’t previously experienced.”

The average wage for a child care worker in Idaho is around $13.50 an hour — a little over $28,000 each year, IdahoSTARS reported. So that incentive payment represented more than a 5% average increase in salary.

The city’s efforts have paid off, Nelson said. Boise saw an increase in child care centers over the last year, jumping from 195 to 215, with six more in the license-approval process.

… Federal grants — part of American Recovery Plan Act funding — helped for a time, bumping up her employees’ wages by an extra $1.78 per hour, but the Idaho Legislature cut those grants off in June, three months early, citing “unresolved issues” with the funding source and possible misuse of funds, the Statesman previously reported.

By that time, Rhoan’s employees had gotten used to the extra pay, so she felt forced to absorb the cost to keep them. Before the pandemic, she was paying between $8 and $12 an hour. Now she pays $12 to $18.

Add that to “astronomical” increases in insurance, taxes, food and curricula, and things start to look impossible, she said.

During COVID, Rhoan raised her rates $40 per week to $210 —not enough to cover her rising costs, she said. Without new grant funding, she predicted another “shutdown” of the child care industry.

“There has always been a disconnect between the cost … versus what our parents can afford to pay us,” she said. “It does not balance at the end of the day.”

Read more here.

Iowa

The Oskaloosa Herald: Rural Iowa is experiencing a child care shortage. Local providers say it’s complicated

The child care program offered by the Mahaska County YMCA is planning to turn to its community donors, YMCA members and participating families to help fill in the funding gap left by the approximately $500,000 in COVID relief money that it received during the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

“That’s the plan, is to ask our community to support the child care needs at a higher rate,” says Mahaska County YMCA CEO Barry Martin. “And that’s the voluntary donations, not federal funds, state funds, whatever. That’s us going to our community and saying ‘We have a need, we can’t afford to pay what we need. We can’t afford to keep child care running at a loss. We need your help to bridge that gap between what we’re subsidizing and what it actually costs us.’”

… COVID relief money, when it was available, was partially used to fund payroll. Now its absence is adding another wrinkle. Martin says that the center has experienced difficulties retaining workers, losing quality staff to higher-paying jobs outside of the child care industry.

Read more here.

Kansas

KSHB: Child care providers and advocates react to President Biden’s proposal

…“Our childcare industry is on a cascading decline,” said Paula Neth, President and CEO of The Family Conservancy. “It was at a breaking point before the pandemic. But I think the pandemic really highlighted how fragile the system is.”

.. The nonprofit created a dashboard to track data like the price of child care and the number of available slots in the metropolitan area. It shows the region lost 13 percent of its supply after the summer.

Read more here.

Kentucky

WSAZ: KinderCollege day care to close

Parents said they’re in shock after hearing the news of KinderCollege day care closing.

Boyd County Schools announced on Wednesday that KinderCollege day care will shut its doors permanently at the end of June.

In a letter sent to parents, the district said “this decision was made after assessing various factors, including future sustainability, staffing and financial resources.”

…WSAZ spoke with with Boyd County Schools for more information about the closure, and they said it came from a loss of federal and ESSER funds and they needed more money to go toward the grade schools.

They said there is no state funding that goes toward the day care, and they needed to divert funds elsewhere.

Read more here

Public News Service: Kentucky child-care providers face uncertain future when federal funding expires  

Krista Hughes is director of Hickory Grove Daycare Preschool in Kenton County.

She said grant money was used specifically for payroll to retain staff, but that without federal funds, she’d be forced to cut the program.

“I’ve already had to do a 5% tuition increase for the 2024 calendar year,” said Hughes. “And with the grant funds no longer coming in, we would be looking at another significant to which an increase for our families.”

Almost two hundred centers serving more than 12,000 children reported that closing their program was the most or next-to-most likely scenario after federal payments expire.

Read more here.

Louisville Public Media: Kentucky’s child care sector faces crisis as pandemic-era federal aid ends

… Since the COVID-19 pandemic, centers across the state have been supported by millions of dollars in federal funding. The majority of that money — about $470 million — was allocated towards quarterly payments to child care providers from 2021 to the end of 2023.

… In a press call Wednesday, several child care directors said they’re already feeling the effects from the loss of federal funding. Hughes said she had to make a tough decision between raising tuition rates or cutting pay for her staff. She ultimately decided to raise tuition rates by 5%.

“I believe that if I walk back pay, I’m gonna be walking my employees out the door,” she said.

Read more here.

Northern Kentucky Tribune: New survey of 770 child care provides warns of looming funding cliff without substantial investment

… In a press call Wednesday, several child care directors said they’re already preparing for the expiration of $330 million in annual federal funding that supported Kentucky’s child care industry in recent years.

“I’ve raised tuition rates and I’m afraid I’m going to have to raise them again,” said Cora Beth Brown, owner of The Children’s Academy in Hopkinsville. “I’m sad to say I’m going to lose a lot of families just due to them not being able to afford child care.”

Brown was among the 86.9% of child care operators who said in the survey that they used federal money to increase the wages of the notoriously low paid child care workforce.

…Instead, Hughes and other directors on the call said they must raise tuition to meet costs. And the survey shows they are far from alone. When asked what changes are most likely to occur once the federal stabilization payments run out, directors said the most likely scenario is families paying higher tuition. There were 605 respondents who said that was the most or next-to-most likely scenario.

Read more here.

WUKY: Lawmakers tackle what’s being called the ‘child care cliff’

… On the agenda were two guests — Sarah Vanover, the policy and research director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, and Eric Friedlander, secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Though both spoke on the successes of Kentucky’s existing public-private partnerships in the child care industry, they also acknowledged the difficult reality of limited capacity, rising costs, and the flight of workers away from the field.

… Carroll is CEO of a nonprofit which operates a child care center. He says the organization pays child care workers a good wage, with benefits — which, minus the federal funding, lost twelve-thousand dollars last quarter.

Read more here.

WDRB: St. Matthews area day care closure highlights Kentucky child care crisis

..The abrupt closure of a Louisville day care is bringing a spotlight to the child care shortage in Kentucky.

Monday, the St. Matthews Area Ministries Childcare Development Center announced it would close its doors on Dec. 22.

… Child care funding was kept afloat during the pandemic by the federal government, but that money ended in September. Child care facilities used that money to help pay employees and to avoid raising tuition. 

After that expired, Kentucky invested another $50 million into child care. That will expire at the end of this month.

…Davasher-Wisdom fears if more funding is not committed to child care, more day cares could close in the new year.

“Without additional funding allocated in the next session, the loss of those federal dollars will mean the potential closure of many child care centers,” Davasher-Wisdom said. 

She said Kentucky has around 1,700 child care spots, but the region is in need of 4,700 more.

Read more here.

Kentucky Lantern: Without help from General Assembly, Kentucky child care industry facing ‘scary’ 2024

… Without funding help from the state legislature to subsidize COVID-19 era federal assistance and stabilize the industry, many child care providers say they face cutting pay for their workers, raising tuition for parents and even closure.

… Meanwhile, for Washburn and others like her, the funding’s expiration dates signal bad news — the “three strikes,” as she calls them.

She used staff-focused federal assistance to bump her employees to $13 per hour, which she cannot sustain alone. She already competes with Walmart, whose employees can start at $15 per hour.

The state extension will get Washburn through February. Then, she faces tough decisions if lawmakers don’t help.

“Now what do we do? Does everybody take a pay cut in February?” she asked. “Well, I don’t think they’re going to want that.” Strike one.

She could also pass the expense on to parents, who already spend more than the state average to send their children to iKids at $9,620 per child per year (the state average is around $7,600 per child per year, according to the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy).

The area Washburn serves isn’t wealthy. In 2021, the Purchase Area Development District, which includes Benton, had a 16% poverty rate, according to Data USA. That’s higher than the national rate of about 12% as of 2022, according to the United States Census Bureau.

Charging these parents more likely means some will have to pull their children out and leave the workforce, Washburn said. Strike two.

Finally, she said she could also sacrifice quality by taking on more children per teacher. But really, she said, that’s not an option for her at all.

… By his numbers, Kentucky needs to spend about $300 million out of its $1.4 billion structural surplus. Other estimates, including one mentioned in a November report from the Department for Community Based Services, are closer to $100 million.

That figure “doesn’t have direct wage stabilization, or direct sustainability payments like the providers had been receiving during the pandemic,” explained Liz McQuillen, the chief policy officer at Metro United Way. “What we hope with the items that we are asking for is that it will provide enough sustainability on the provider side and … that hopefully many of them are able to use the sustainability payments, that they will have some tools to be able to attract and retain qualified educators.”

Read more here.

Maine

Press Herald: Child care providers close doors, reduce capacity as federal funds run out

… In August, after eight years in business, Miss Jordyn’s Child Care and Preschool in Caribou shut its doors for good. Federal pandemic funding had kept the child, summer and after-school care operation afloat for a while, but the money ran out last month, sending families scrambling to find care for their children.

Read more here.

Maryland

WMAR: After losing pandemic relief funding, child care providers still struggling

… Funding from the American Rescue Plan Act kept some providers hanging on during COVID. Not all were so lucky.

Roberts-King spent all the ARPA money on her employees, to make sure there were no layoffs. That federal funding dried up in the fall. Now places like DBCC are turning to partnerships, philanthropy, and raising tuition to make up for the loss.

“But for an industry that’s already stretched so thin just trying to care for the children, adding fundraising to that, it’s another job,” Roberts-King said.

It’s a delicate balance – making tuition high enough to keep wages competitive, but low enough so parents can afford to stay.

Read more here.

WYPR: ‘Downhill before a cliff’: Baltimore child care providers struggle with loss of pandemic-era aid

“Fatima Whitmore is the lead teacher at Tender Tots, a family-provided child care center in Baltimore County. She says three out of eight families dropped out of the program after pandemic-era aid expired because they could no longer afford the $250 weekly tuition.

“And it’s not because they’re at a bar or bowling. They really have to get gas; they really needed groceries,” Whitmore said.

…Without full enrollment and full tuition, Tender Tots is being forced to cut expenses. “What we offer the children didn’t change, although the enrollment dropped. We still have to prepare meals, we still give them one on one learning time,” Whitmore said. “So, maybe we can’t have hot meals every day, we may have to turn to cereal. It’s just a balancing budget plan we do weekly.”

The center stopped paying for cable, and had to lay off the only other employee helping Whitmore and the director.

…Roberts-King said the center is working to find other partners and funding sources to fill the American Rescue Plan gap.“

When one budget line goes down, then another budget line has to be picked up,” she said. “And what we’re trying to do is partner with anyone who we can to help get money to families to afford the best quality care for their children.”

Read more here.

Massachusetts

WBUR: Mass. child care providers brace for cuts to state grants

More than half of the state’s 8,323 child care providers were recently notified that the monthly payments they receive from the state will be cut significantly in May and June. State officials say they need to make adjustments to Commonwealth Cares for Children (C3) grant payments to stay within what’s budgeted in the 2024 fiscal year.

…Providers who are impacted say the cuts will result in a significant strain to their budgets and drain their savings accounts. The extent of cuts ranges anywhere from roughly half to three-quarters of usual monthly payments.

…The C3 grant system began as a pandemic-era support system, intended to prevent widespread child care closures due to increased costs for items like personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies and rising food prices. It was originally funded with federal pandemic aid, but Massachusetts lawmakers decided to continue the program in 2024 once federal dollars dried up. C3 grants make up roughly a third of Massachusetts’ $1.5 billion early education and child care budget.

Read more here.

Boston Globe: With funding challenges looming, Mass. child care could be in jeopardy

… But providers said the child care industry is so broken that it requires a more permanent funnel of government money that goes directly to providers, such as the Commonwealth Cares for Children (C3) grants that came through during COVID.

The American Rescue Plan and other COVID funds funneled more than $600 million directly to child-care centers using a formula that accounted for staffing levels and community demographics. It helped keep businesses afloat amid fiscal freefall.

… Now, providers said, the coming end of the C3 grants means centers from Granby to Chelsea will likely have to hike tuition to cover overhead expenses, including rent, insurance, and supplies. Teachers — already paid no more than $46,000 annually — will likely have to soldier on without wage increases or leave the industry out of necessity.

Some centers fear they will have to accept fewer children from low-income families, whose government subsidies do not cover the full cost of care.

Others warn they may be forced to close.

Read more here.

Michigan

WWMT: Michigan childcare crisis deepens as federal funding cuts force closures

Deep cuts in federal dollars are impacting already struggling childcare facilities in Michigan.

Childcare facilities have been feeling the pinch over the past year, since $40 billion in Federal Emergency Relief Funds or ARPA dollars dried up following the pandemic.

… The YMCA, Michigan’s largest childcare provider, shut down two early childcare centers, along with a dozen school-aged centers after ARPA money fizzled out last September.

The Discovery Center, a daycare center in Kalamazoo is taking on some of the load.

“We are almost at capacity with our infants and our toddlers,” Ginny Middleton, a cook at the Discovery Center said.

… Discovery told News Channel 3 they want parents to be able to afford their daycare but will soon have to raise costs to be able to afford supplies.

Read more here.

WXPR: Ironwood childcare facility hopes to work with community to address childcare crisis

…  At the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, federal stabilization money that kept child care centers from collapsing during COVID-19 stopped coming, and Michigan dropped the pandemic-level rates that it reimbursed facilities for children subsidized through the Child Development and Care program.

… The leadership of Huntey’s Clubhouse, which has six early learning and child care centers across west central Michigan, did not raise salaries with pandemic money. They used the relief funds for bonuses, teacher training and to invest in a curriculum program and enhance facility security.

But their fiscal prescience hasn’t spared them from the huge impacts of the drop in federal subsidy rates, which around half their enrolled children use to pay for care.

“With 50% of our children being subsidized, a 25% decrease off the top line with absolutely no change in our costs is incredibly painful,” said Tyler Huntey, CEO of Huntey’s Clubhouse.

… But she’s already not sleeping much. Apple Playschools, one of the few programs in the area that offers profit-losing infant and toddler care, may not survive another season.

One month ago, Heisler finally ran out of options and announced a massive midyear tuition hike for her families.

“It was devastating,” Heisler said. “It still is.” She and her staff have spent mornings on the phone with parents who are feeling squeezed, trying to figure out how to reduce the hours their children spend in care or finagle some kind of tuition assistance. But they can’t offer everyone a break, and Heisler feels stuck.

“In this broken system, providers are forced into an impossible choice between affordable care for families and a living existence for our staff that honors the humanity of both of those,” she said.

She won’t cut back on wages, she already raised tuition and she hasn’t been successful in getting all the grant money they’d need to acquire buildings and do the renovations to add tuition-generating spots.

“What am I going to do, just close my infant/toddler program?” Heisler said. “These families don’t have a place to go.”

Read more here.

Flint Side: Child care providers face funding cliff as ARPA dollars fall away

…But the field trips are coming to an end. Since all of the children at Sent Loves for Kids receive subsidized funding from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the facility also was receiving extra early childhood funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), funding which ended on September 30. 

“It is going to impact sponsoring the field trips or just the extras like that,” Johnson-Smith said. “We might do pizza day and different stuff, but I’m trying to keep it as small as possible. I have to budget to afford to pay the teachers … because I have to have a certain amount of teachers. It’d be either that or I have to cut my [number of] kids down. A lot of these parents are reliant on daycare because they have no family members to take care of them during the hours they need or when they can pull some extra hours to get that extra money.”

…“While we have sufficient funding in order to maintain our entrance eligibility rate at 200% of the federal poverty level (which is about $60,000 for a family of four), we didn’t have the ability to do that as well as maintain the higher reimbursement rates that we have been paying to providers to provide care,” Richards says. The result will be a decline in reimbursements to providers.

Read more here.

 

Minnesota

Hutchinson Leader: Child care providers face many challenges

... Revenue dropped due to low enrollment and higher costs during the pandemic. In 2021, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law that allocated federal American Rescue Plan funds to stabilization grants to help child care centers increase staff compensation. The grants began in September 2021 and were to remain available through June last year.

This aid package helped attract more staff, but the concern was what happened after this money ran out. In May 2023, the Legislature recognized the need for more funding and passed the Great Start Compensation bill to continue the stabilization grants. This money — $316 million — is strictly to increase wages for full-time employees and is half of the previous assistance.

“This helps, but it is less than what we had previously gotten to increase wages, thus causing an increase in tuition,” Kristin Jaquith, executive director of Stay-n-Play Child Care Center said. “Our rates are still more than 10% less than the MN CCAP (a child care assistance program).”

In spite of the financial assistance to increase wages, Stay-n-Play and Kids Depot still struggle to find staff.

… Jaquith suggested providers need access to more grants to help pay taxes, licensing fees, professional development and building improvements and. Subsidizing slot programs, too, would alleviate another challenge.

Read more here.

Twin Cities Business: The State of Early Child Care: ‘A Band-Aid On a Gaping Wound’

As many child care centers across the country face possible closure after American Rescue Plan funding expired this fall, Minnesota stood out in this sector as state-allocated funds came online to compensate. But child care advocates and businesses say there’s a ways to go before early child care programs can be accessible and affordable to all families.

In anticipation of the expiration of federal funding, the state legislature approved $1.3 billion in child care funding in its last session. With this funding, Minnesota launched its Great Start Compensation Support Program, allocating $316 million to child care providers to increase employee compensation and benefits. The program started shortly after Child Care Stabilization Grants through the American Rescue Plan came to an end on September 30.

For Kristen Denzer, CEO and founder of Tierra Encantada, the state grant program means she can increase employee compensation. But she told TCB, this only helps solve one piece of the puzzle.

…While a K-12 classroom will often have one teacher to every 30 students, an early child care classroom can only have four babies per adult, seven toddlers per adult, and 10 preschoolers per adult, she said. With this kind of staffing need, there isn’t enough public money to cover that cost. “So we’re asking parents to pay the bulk of the money at a time when they are making the least amount of money,” Keller said.

The state funding passed this year includes the $316 million in monthly grants to child care facilities in 2024 and 2025, and $260 million over every two years that follow. Think Small, the Twin Cities nonprofit dedicated to child care, advocated for the funding passed this year.

“But, even with (the legislation), we still have significant gaps,” Keller said. “I’m not going to sugarcoat it — this is basically putting a band-aid on a gaping wound… So we’re kind of keeping the lights on, but we’re just barely doing that.”

Read more here.

Mississippi

Hechinger Report: Mississippi child care workers barely earn ‘survival wages’

Biz Harris, the executive director of the Mississippi Early Learning Alliance, said that the state has recently launched an initiative meant to provide extra money to teachers and to provide scholarships for those who engage in additional training.

However, that program is funded through emergency funds that came from the federal government during the pandemic, and thus will sunset when the money is exhausted.

“We would love to see a program like this have the funds to continue, and worry about what will happen to the already struggling child care workforce when it ends,” Harris said. “Other states do provide these kinds of programs for their child care teachers as a workforce investment.”

Daniel-Hollingshead said while that money is appreciated, she still struggles to hold on to employees and has waiting lists at every age level.

“Currently it is extremely difficult to retain staff,” she said. “Due to the pay rates that I have had to increase to keep my best people, we are operating over budget about $25,000 a month which obviously is not sustainable long-term.”

Read more here.

Missouri

PBS NewsHour: As pandemic funding fades, Missouri child care providers wonder what’s next

Mary Crockett-Smith has spent three decades taking care of children. Now the owner of two early child care facilities in the St. Louis Metro area is worried about paying her bills.

Her facilities benefited from federal pandemic-era funding that acted as a lifeline for providers and parents struggling in the throes of COVID-19. That expired at the end of September. Missouri’s additional funding for early childhood subsidies have not gone as far as she hoped, and she worries she may have to let go of staff and cut hours to stay open.

…For Crockett-Smith, this means her two locations are going to lose thousands of dollars each month.

“Payroll is running about, for both schools, about $62,000 … cut $12,000 off it, how are we going to make it?” she said

Read more here.

Montana

KTVH: Lawmakers get update on challenges facing Montana’s childcare system

Across Montana, leaders say there’s a big gap between the demand for childcare and the available supply. During a meeting Tuesday, state lawmakers got a closer look at some of the ongoing challenges facing the childcare system.

…Pandemic-era programs provided additional support for childcare businesses, but much of that funding is coming to an end.

Carrie Krepps, executive director of Florence Crittenton, said her organization used childcare stabilization grants to raise salaries for staff in their early childhood programs. However, as that money expired, she said they had to maintain those wages in order to keep their employees. Now, they’ve turned to fundraising to make up the difference.

“Probably 30%, 35% of our staff’s wages have come from fundraising dollars,” Krepps said. “So while that’s manageable for us, because we’re a 120-year-old organization and have lived off of fundraising for quite some time, it’s not necessarily sustainable – especially when we’re looking to increase by another four positions in order to open those other spots.”

Read more here.

Nebraska

KLKN TV: Closure of longtime Lincoln child care center highlights ‘crisis’

The child care program at First-Plymouth Church is closing its doors after more than 55 years. 

… The center said financial challenges and staffing shortages led to the difficult decision. 

… Lincoln Littles, a nonprofit advocating for early childhood programs, said this closure highlights a bigger problem in the community. 

Associate Director Suzanne Schneider said child care centers are feeling the ripple effects of losing pandemic funding.

She said it has already impacted about 500 kids in Lincoln. 

“We’ve had three child care centers close in Lincoln since November,” Schneider said.

Schroder said the child care system is suffering and needs support from lawmakers. 

“The early childhood field is in crisis, and we need help,” she said. “It needs to be known that we need support with funding.”

Read more here.

Lincoln Journal Star: Editorial, 1/26: Nebraska’s child care crisis cannot be ignored

One of the best investments Nebraska made with millions of dollars of federal aid that flowed into the state during the pandemic was in early child care, benefiting children and families and helping providers stay afloat as they navigated COVID-19.

But now with that pool of federal aid gone, community leaders — like those who met at the second annual Early Childhood Summit in Lincoln last week — are in search of urgent solutions to a child care crisis with wide-reaching implications, from the development of young minds to economic stability.

The alarm bells have been ringing for a while and are only getting louder.

The numbers — and dollar signs — tell part of the story: Families in Lincoln on average pay anywhere from $10,000 to $13,000 per child each year for child care, the Journal Star’s Jenna Ebbers reported. Data from the local nonprofit Lincoln Littles shows there are more than 900 children on waitlists right now. And to make any substantive progress in expanding access, millions of dollars would need to be invested. Lincoln Littles Executive Director Anne Brandt’s price point is $17 million.

Read more here.

New Hampshire

CBS News: Inside America’s child care crisis as parents, providers sound alarm

Cora-Lynn Hoppe was on the verge of shutting down her child center in Southeast New Hampshire.

… The Center burned through its savings after hitting the so-called child care cliff last fall, when $24 billion in pandemic related subsidies expired in Congress.

Nikole Killion, CBS News: “What has the impact been on your center?”

Cora-Lynn Hoppe: “Devastating. We went from 90 employees down to 70. And we had to make cuts everywhere.”

Read more here.

WMUR: Shaheen pushes for more funding for child care resources

… Without federal funds to pay employees, those involved said it would have been much worse. But now, those federal funds are running out.

“The only place to find the money is going to be the parents they serve,” said Jackie Cowell, of Early Learning NH. “That’s where it comes from, the tuition. And the parents don’t have any more. They’re already paying more than they can afford.”

Southern New Hampshire Services has 11 child care centers. It was forced to reduce enrollment and classrooms and applied previous funds toward increasing wages and keeping staff.

Read more here.

New Jersey

NJ Spotlight News: Could a Newark early learning center funded by philanthropists be a model for child care?

… “During and after COVID, the American Rescue Plan helped programs keep their doors open. But now, that money is gone. It had to be gone by Sept. 30,” said Rice.

Rice said the COVID-era relief funding primarily helped pay for staffers’ salaries. But without additional funds, early childhood programs are struggling to pay the number of employees necessary for infant and toddler care.

Read more here.

New Mexico

Scripps News: The child care cliff: 2 states fight to keep care programs alive

…At the home of Gallegos, nothing has changed, at least for her parents and for her small staff. For her, the child care cliff has brought one big change.

“Since the beginning of September, I am not receiving payment. I was thinking of closing and getting a job, but no. I see the children, and I made a commitment here,” Gallegos said.

She keeps working, for now for free, and keeps serving her community with the mindset that the secret ingredient is always love.

“I cannot throw in the towel at this time, when we have already achieved great things,” Gallegos said.

Read more here.

New York

Long Island Business News: New York has a childcare crisis.

… The cuts in government funding and increased costs in labor and supplies at a time of rising inflation are taking a toll on childcare providers and working parents with young children.

Just ask Lisa Bridge, the executive director of Port Washington Children’s Center.

“One of the things that’s been a big loss was when the funding ended that subsidized COVID,” she said, referring to the nearly $24 billion childcare funding that was part of the American Rescue Plan.

That funding, she said, “was subsidizing tuition to middle class families.” The lack of funding is driving tuition costs up, and without it, families find they “couldn’t afford the care.”

In Port Washington, the Children’s Center serves families across the spectrum, with some in the lower-income bracket qualifying for government assistance to those in the upper-middle-end bracket.

But, Bridge said, “it’s hitting the middle-income families the most. And that’s what we’ve been really trying to look at to tackle.”

Read more here.

North Carolina

Indy Week: Durham Childcare Center Prepares to Close Amid Loss of Federal Stabilization Grants

Stephanie Smith’s nearly eight-year run as a home childcare provider in Durham is coming to an end just as the Child Care Stabilization Grants that came from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) expire.

The childcare veteran with more than 20 years of experience says she can no longer afford to keep the doors open due to rising expenses and state and federal childcare subsidies that haven’t kept pace with the cost of doing business.

…“I would have to pay them $15 an hour or more and I couldn’t afford that,” Smith said. “I’m in a boat where I don’t want to increase my tuition because parents aren’t able to afford to pay the parent fee.”

…Smith did raise tuition on two occasions. The parents’ portion of childcare (parents’ fees) cost jumped from $75 a month to as much as $230 a month for some families, she said.

EdNC: North Carolina has lost almost 5% of its licensed child care programs since the pandemic began

More licensed child care programs in North Carolina are closing their doors as the state approaches the expiration of pandemic-era stabilization funding.

According to data provided by the NC Child Care Resource and Referral Council (CCR&R) in partnership with the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE), the state has experienced a net loss of almost 5% of programs since February 2020.

Closures of licensed child care programs have been outpacing the opening of new programs since at least June 2023 — and now the rate of that trend appears to be increasing.

Between June and December 2023, the state had a net loss of 34 programs. But in just the first three months of 2024, the net loss was 41.

Read more here.

WCNC: Child care, a labor of love, facing a tough battle as pandemic funding comes to an end

… With the funding expiring in June, Toliver said she’s already been forced to make tough decisions.

“We just increased fees on Monday and we had to … because we have to maintain costs,” Toliver said.

So has Hanna, who said her families will also be looking at higher rates.

Read more here.

WCNC: FACT-CHECK: Statewide survey shows day care cost could increase

It’s no secret that child care can be expensive. And with COVID-19 grants coming to an end, experts say it will likely get even more costly for parents. 

A survey sent to child care providers in North Carolina revealed some alarming results. 

… The survey also shows more than half of child care providers have already tried to cut costs by reducing the number of staff members and cutting hours. 

Read more here.

WCNC: Child care centers forced to tough decisions as end of pandemic relief ends

Tiny Treasures is licensed for up to a hundred kids, but with limited staffing. They currently have 84 kids.

The day care is planning to slice that number in half once COVID funds are gone.

…”I’m trying to find a way to stay afloat without that extra cushion,” Dejhana Ray, director of Pee Wee’s Little People, said.

Many facilities are considering increasing the price to attend, a decision that will drastically impact low-income families who are already using vouchers.

…For many of these centers, about 90% of the families coming in are low-income families who can’t afford a price increase.

The limitations leave them with one option, close up shop.

Read more here. 

EdNC: North Carolina loses more licensed child care programs as funding cliff approaches 

North Carolina has lost almost 4% of its licensed child care programs since the start of the pandemic, according to data provided by the NC Child Care Resource and Referral Council (CCR&R) in partnership with the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE). 

Since February 2020, there has been a net loss of 203 licensed child care programs statewide — from 5,242 before the pandemic to 5,039 at the end of 2023.

And those losses are likely to accelerate this year.

…The Dogwood counties (Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, and Yancey) officially have fewer licensed child care sites than before the pandemic. They went from 386 in February 2020 to 385 in December 2023.

Read more here. 

Charlotte Magazine: The Edge of North Carolina’s Child Care Cliff

Child care centers nationwide face similar difficulties, and the COVID era—and, indirectly, government efforts to help such businesses survive it—has led to what experts are calling the “child care cliff.” Centers like Pathway have always struggled to find and retain qualified staff. But COVID threatened to close them for good.

The federal government has kept child care centers afloat for three years through COVID relief funds. But that money is expected to run out by fall, and a bill that would allocate more remains stalled in Congress. Meanwhile, teachers have found higher-paying jobs, the cost of living has risen, and working parents need affordable child care more than ever.

“Right now, we’re trying to get Congress to pass the Child Care Stabilization Act. If it doesn’t pass, we’ll be facing these same cliffs continuously,” Biggs says. “It’ll never be back where it was pre-pandemic. If we don’t get the state to find the money, teachers won’t wait till June to find other work.”

…Soon after COVID struck in March 2020, the state government moved to help child care programs. The Department of Health and Human Services provided $80 million in monthly operational grants from April through July 2020 and an additional $35 million in October 2020. “I’ve been in child care for 27 years, and we’ve never seen bonus money like that,” Biggs says. “They were giving us, like, $10,000 to $12,000 per employee. They also issued emergency vouchers to cover child care for essential workers.”

The U.S. government followed with even more relief. In January 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act allocated $39 billion to child care programs nationwide. North Carolina’s share was $805 million, to be paid out by quarter until October 2023. Programs would have to spend the first six rounds of these “stabilization grants” by Sept. 30, 2023, and the last three by Sept. 30, 2024. Congress has not approved any more funding. Before the first deadline, Senate Democrats introduced the Child Care Stabilization Act, which would provide $16 billion in mandatory funding each year for the next five years. But the bill lacks support from Republicans and, as of December, remained in committee.

…Even affluent ZIP codes feel the strain. Myers Park Presbyterian Church’s Weekday School is one of many child care centers that used their grant to increase teacher pay. But when I spoke with Shannon Leary, assistant director for the Weekday School’s birth through pre-K program, in October, the school had recently turned over nearly a third of its staff. (Leary began in a new position at Pritchard Child Development Center in November.)

…When we speak in November, Biggs expects to raise tuition in the first three months of 2024. Since the start of COVID, she estimates 30 families have had to withdraw from Pathway, some as recently as a few weeks ago. 

Read more here. 

Citizen Times: NC Health Dept: 7 Western North Carolina child care centers to close, lack of funding

Seven child care centers in Western North Carolina will close on Oct. 31, leaving 300 children without care, according to an Oct. 20 news release from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The centers are operated by Southwestern Child Development, a nonprofit that focuses on early care and education. Combined, the seven centers serve nearly 300 children up to 5 years old, the majority of whom receive child care subsidies or N.C. Pre-K services, the release said.

…Advocates asked the N.C. General Assembly for continuing stabilization grant funding that early childhood programs were given during the COVID-19 pandemic, in the amount of $300 million.

Read more here.

MarketWatch: Biden asks Congress for $16 billion to reverse child-care funding ‘cliff’

… Southwestern Child Development Commission, a nonprofit focusing on early education in western North Carolina, announced last week that it will close down seven agency-operated programs starting from Oct. 31.

“We no longer have adequate agency resources to supplement the state rate,” the agency said in the announcement. The agency raised the tuition rates on Oct. 1, but new rates offered little support to the rural counties where these programs were based, it said.

Read more here.

North Dakota

Dakota News Now: Child care leaders asking for City’s help in solving crisis

 Child care industry leaders in Sioux Falls are calling on the city to help solve the financial crisis for both providers and families.

Six child care CEOs and experts spoke directly to the Sioux Falls City Council’s regulatory committee Tuesday afternoon.

The problems are clear — providers are struggling to offer competitive wages to attract and retain employees to take care of kids. Raising their rates, they say, won’t work because too many families struggle to afford child care as it is. Many are having to decide between spending a major swath of their monthly income on child care or having one parent leave the workforce to stay at home with kids.

Those in the industry were barking these warnings before the pandemic. A haul of federal Covid-19 relief came nationwide a couple years ago, with child care considered an “essential” component of existence that needed a life preserver.

But no action, or even much conversation, at city or state government levels had been taken until Tuesday in Sioux Falls — a month after the initial closing of the Apple Tree daycare centers in Sioux Falls, and others, sparked panic among parents citywide.

”I had business leaders calling me with great concern about what they were going to be able to do for their employees because they’ve got employees that didn’t come to work,” said Stacy Jones, CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire and one of Tuesday’s presenting speakers.

Read more here.

High Plains Reader: North Dakota Has a Rural Child Care Problem. Here’s How to Fix It.

Any stabilization grants and other state funding the co-op received dried up over a year ago. Now, ECCCC is still recovering.

“We’re gonna have to operate at a deficit to keep our doors open,” Laverdure said. “It’s not a position we want to be in.”

…While the co-op offers what they can for employee benefits and has increased their worker’s wages, they’ve also had to raise rates for the families they serve. While these increases in fees are necessary for the co-op to function, Laverdure said it’s hard to strike a right balance so parents aren’t priced out of their services.

Read more here.

Ohio

Star Beacon: Child care challenges hinder economy

Child care is an issue that runs deep into workforce development challenges and the personal lives of families all over Ashtabula County and beyond.

…The federal government funneled a lot of money to the states and eventually to child care centers since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but those funds will be running out soon, leaving administrators with the difficult choice of raising prices or losing money.

…ABC Child Care Center Executive Administrator Larina Spring said the stabilization grants have been helpful and can be used for paying employees, utilities, rents and other costs of the centers…She said prices are going to have to rise as an economic necessity. “This is the first time we have been operating at a loss,” Spring said.

…McTrusty agrees state funding for child care is way below most states. 

…“We raised our rate for the first time in four years,” she said. McTrusty said her facility has a waiting list of 782. She said the industry faces the reduced workforce challenges that most employers are seeing and the more demands coming from the state.

Read more here.

Oklahoma

KFOR: Child care centers, parents brace for impact as federal funding dries up

Oklahoma child care officials said the state is a child care desert. Federal funding has allowed centers to bring on more staff, thus enrolling more children. However, that funding dries up at the end of the fiscal year.

“As a parent? It’s scary. And as an administrator, it’s scary,” said Christina Friesen.

Friesen is an administrator at St. Luke’s in OKC.

… Her youngest daughter is best friends with the daughter of Mandi Coleman, the director of the church’s Children Center.

… Federal COVID-19 dollars, known as ARPA funds, allowed staff who have children to receive subsidies for childcare costs without an income limit.

… Coleman said in order to keep the program, OKDHS anticipated it would cost $18 million.

… St. Luke’s is working on how to push through. To keep staff, tuition will have to go up.

Read more here.

KOCO 5 News: Oklahomans already feel change after federal funding expires for child care

Billions of dollars of federal funding expired for child care, leaving hundreds of Oklahomans with questions, concerns and uncertainty.

Now, families are footing 50% of the co-pay bill after funding that covered the co-pay for child care for low-income families expired. Oklahomans have already felt the change in their wallets.

… There are still funds that don’t expire until Sept. 30, 2024. Those funds are what allow families to pay 50% of the co-pay and not 100%, and they also have benefits for the facilities.

Oregon

Portland Tribune: Child care advocates make their case for more support

Natalie Kiyah knows what life is like with — and without — state-supported day care for her children.

She wants legislators to know that it’s better to be working with child care.

She and others took their messages to Salem, where legislators will decide next month how much to add to the state budget to reduce or eliminate a wait list of 1,300 families hoping to obtain subsidies from a program known as Employment-Related Day Care. Legislators were at the Capitol this past week (Jan. 10-12) in the final round of committee meetings prior to their 2024 session, which starts Feb. 5 and ends no later than March 10.

… Employment-Related Day Care is overseen by the Department of Early Learning and Care, which gained full agency status last year, though its components were drawn from other agencies such as Education and Human Services. Oregon’s wait list is a result of increased demand for care and an end to pandemic-era federal funds under the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act — plus difficulties in recruiting and retaining child-care workers during the past two years of relatively low unemployment.

Read more here.

The News Guard: Child care program faces potential $123 million shortfall, indefinite waiting list

A record number of Oregon families signed up for child care subsidies this year when eligibility was broadly expanded, but that has led to a budget shortfall that could reach $123 million.

…The budget deficit means the waitlist for subsidized care will probably remain in place indefinitely, barring a major investment by the Legislature in the 2024 session. Even if the program doesn’t grow beyond its current caseload of 15,600 families – which is unlikely – funding is $38 million short. That figure excludes $13 million in federal funding the agency expects to receive.

…To drive down co-pays and make the subsidy more useful for families, the state relied on about $97 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act funding. But the last of that funding will be spent within the year, Chatterjee told the Capital Chronicle last month, creating a funding “gap.”

Pennsylvania

NYT: With Pandemic Money Gone, Child Care Is an Industry on the Brink

… Before the pandemic, Shineal Hunter, like her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother before her, worked in child care, running a center for 55 children in Philadelphia. It focused on caring for children with behavioral challenges and helping families find services like housing or food assistance.

After the pandemic, though, the business became unsustainable, with rising costs, inconsistent attendance and a staffing shortage.

With the expiration of the federal funding looming, Ms. Hunter closed her center.

“It’s heartbreaking, that all the energy and effort that I’ve had for the last 15 years, the services provided in my community, those are gone,” she said. “I’m thinking of the children who are now going to fall between the cracks.”

Read more here.

Lehigh Valley News: Families and day care centers scramble as COVID-19 federal funding expires

Since the so-called fiscal cliff in September — when $24 billion in COVID-19 pandemic funding for child care facilities in Pennsylvania and nationwide expired — state and local early education advocates, experts and day care operators say the effects have been wide-ranging.

More families on waitlists. Less money for staff wages. And some businesses have had to increase tuition rates to cope with rising prices.

… Diane Barber, executive director of the Pennsylvania Child Care Association, said she started hearing of some businesses shutting their doors shortly after the funding ran out.

“I think it was the end of October that within a four-week period, I knew of five programs that had closed,” she said.

… A survey of Pennsylvania child care programs conducted in October by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Policy Lab received 726 responses. Those programs reported nearly 26,000 more kids across Pennsylvania could be served with additional staff; and, more than 27,000 families were waitlisted for a spot in a classroom.

… McEllroy said she used federal COVID-19 money to increase staff wages and hire more workers. She said she was able to bump up her teachers not funded through the state’s Pre-K Counts program to $15-to-$18 an hour. The Pre-K Counts program has specific higher education requirements and those teachers can make around $30 an hour or more. The day care owner said when the supplemental dollars expired, she had to slash her employees’ wages for those outside of Pre-K Counts.

… McEllroy said she has recently raised tuition to deal with the rise of inflation. Her center’s school age program, which serves 5- to 10-year-olds, is currently shuttered.

… President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats have pushed for an additional $16 billion in emergency child care funding, but lawmakers have not agreed to pass the appropriation. U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-Lehigh Valley, has signed on to two pieces of legislation that would provide $16 billion in grants annually for five years to child care programs and help to shore up the sector in the long-term.

Read more here.

South Dakota

South Dakota Searchlight: State lawmaker seeks study of child care costs and unused subsidies

… Additionally, some legislators are working to create a funding assessment through the Department of Social Services, so lawmakers can understand what sources of funding, both federal and state dollars, there are for child care and how they’re handled. The assessment, through the Hunt Institute, is planned to be completed by March, said Rep. Taylor Rehfeldt, R-Sioux Falls.

… “A lot of times the child care industry keeps talking about turnover: ‘we have so much turnover’ and ‘what are we going to do about turnover?’ It’s pay. That’s what it is,” Reed said. “I don’t think there’s really other things we can do. We have to figure out how to pay more or you’re just not going to get the capacity from them.”

The push for improved state involvement comes after a pandemic-era influx of federal funding for child care providers ended last year, creating “a cliff effect,” Klein said.

“These funds were helping providers to keep their doors open and now that funding is totally gone,” Klein said. “So we will continue to see closures happening more and more.”

Read more here.

Argus Leader: Four Sioux Falls childcare centers shutting down early next year

Four Sioux Falls childcare centers will be shutting down early next year, dropping the childcare capacity in the city by more than 800 spots.

… “Apple Tree has sought to serve the children and families of Sioux Falls for over 40 years,” the email read. “Staff shortages, the impact of inflation, as well as occupancy costs have resulted in financial losses far too large to sustain. Regrettably, sadly, we are forced to suspend operations no later than Jan. 12, 2024.”

… Many, including EmBe CEO Kerri Tietgen, have said the city is in a childcare crisis even before the closure of Apple Tree, citing availability of childcare as well as its rising costs.

… “The child care issue is a wage problem,” said Councilor Pat Starr, who tried and failed to allocate $100,000 toward the city’s health department to create an office of youth development during the most recent budget process. “If you work full time plus and the government has to subsidize your housing and childcare it’s a wage problem.”

Read more here.

KELO: Good Shepherd Lutheran closing child care center

A child care provider in Sioux Falls is closing.  The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church confirmed to KELOLAND News it plans to stop offering child care services from its location in southeastern Sioux Falls.

Michael Johnson, pastor at Good Shepherd, said rising costs and worker shortages have been the biggest challenges since the COVID-19 pandemic.

…Good Shepherd received $360,000 in American Rescue Plan Act child care stabilization grant money, according to the DSS.

Johnson confirmed the child care provider received the government funding and was grateful for it.

Read more here.

South Carolina

Post and Courier: SC business leaders warn of dire affordable child care shortage

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a new influx of federal funding allowed parents earning between 85 percent and 300 percent of the poverty level to access the state’s child care scholarship program. Though children previously accepted into the scholarship program during COVID will be allowed to remain, federal funds are no longer there, said Connelly-Anne Ragley, DSS chief external affairs officer, meaning an estimated 2,800 children across the state who once may have qualified no longer will.

Read more here.

WRDW/WAGT: S.C. agency seeks money to help ease child-care costs

…The South Carolina Department of Social Services is asking lawmakers for $10 million to provide child care scholarships for nearly 3,000 kids.

…The new group DSS wants to cover next was temporarily able to access child care help through federal pandemic relief money.

But a lot of that federal funding is now gone, leaving thousands of working families potentially unable to afford this cost.

Read more here.

Tenessee

WSMV4: Tennessee families could lose their childcare or be forced to pay more following expiration of federal funding

…“The school just raised tuition this past August by 8% to meet costs, but that number is about to take an even bigger jump of 12% to 15% because their federal pandemic emergency funds just expired.

For an infant at Glen Leven, that 15% increase translates to an additional $234 dollars a month.

“It really does break my heart because I don’t know if our parents can afford it, and these kids need care,” said Glen Leven Preschool Director Debbie Ferguson.“

I think it’s very possible that a lot of centers are going to have to close their doors and/or are going to have to turn those fees and charge parents to be able to make up for the money that’s been lost from these funds,” explained Ferguson.”

Read more here.

Texas

KVUE: Central Texas child care providers struggle to hire staff

Many child care providers are having a hard time filling positions, putting extra pressure on the workers they already have. 

… “We would love to be able to offer wage supplements to all early childhood educators, but the funds just aren’t there,” Perez-Riddel said.

WorkForce Solutions used “American Rescue Plan Act” (ARPA) funds to help more workers get the stipend, going from 160 workers in 2022 to 444 in 2023. But those funds won’t last. 

“A lot of those funding mechanisms are ending at the end of this year or, you know, already have ended. So we anticipate those gaps seeing the same or growing,” Alison Bentley with United Way said.

Read more here.

KRDO: The need for childcare in El Paso County soars to 16,000+ spots

According to data obtained by the Joint Initiatives for Youth and Families, 16,935 kids in El Paso County ages 0-5 need childcare. Currently, the county has over 17,000 spots for childcare, meaning the county will need to double those spots to meet the need.

… “We work at a thin margin. We don’t make a lot of money. It’s hard with the stimulus going away. There’s not a lot of funding streams out there,” Mather said.

Mather relies on grant funding and state help to keep up with the overhead costs of her business. She says things like insurance, new materials, and the cost of labor keep going up. After state funding ran out in September 2023 that was helping subsidize childcare costs, Mather is looking for other sources of income to keep her business afloat.

Meanwhile, she also struggles to pay her employees enough to retain them.

“There’s not a lot of people that want to work in childcare. It’s not very lucrative, you know, you’re not going to become a millionaire, obviously,” Mather said.

Read more here.

Houston Chronicle: ‘Child care cliff’ forces some Houston-area daycares to close after federal funding ends

…That all fell apart Dec. 6 when the day care, Early Ivy, announced its Woodlands location would close within two days.

“I was freaking out. I’m a single mom and I work full time, and it is very hard to scurry and find a day care within two days,” Morrow said. “It’s even more of an injustice to the teachers and the students, but also to people like me who have to struggle even more to find something that is affordable and close and trustworthy for your little one.”

The company, which was hosting children in a temporary facility while renovating its permanent location at 25902 Budde Road, cited the “child care cliff” as the primary culprit behind the temporary facility’s closure.

More than 305,000 children in Texas could be without childcare in Texas alone and up to 70,000 daycares are expected to close after COVID-era federal child care funding ended Sept. 30, according to a study from think tank The Century Foundation.

“We are doing our best to keep our company moving forward, including opening the new location on Budde. Sometimes, difficult decisions need to be made to do so,” owner Rob Metzler told the Chronicle in an email. “We would have liked to have provided more notice, and yet our business challenges quickly overtook our resources and time.”

…Stay and Play, a 45-year, 24-hour day care program in north Houston, was among the first in the area to cite the federal funding cutoff for closing one of its two locations in mid-November.

“We’re struggling,” program director Sarah Englishbee said. “We are not doing transportation to and from the school, which cut out a huge expense. We let a lot of our staff go. They are just running with the minimum staff that they can.”

…When more childcare facilities close, fewer parents, especially women, can return to work, Kofron said.

The oldest of Sihem Fekih-Soibinet’s two sons enrolled in Early Ivy two years ago, and her second son eventually followed in late 2022. Fekih-Soibinet was planning on returning to work but will likely have to remain at home for longer until she and her husband find a place that works for her youngest son.

Read more here.

ABC Houston (KTRK): North Houston day care closing, leaving parents scrambling and employees out of work

A north Houston day care is closing Friday, sending parents scrambling to find child care and employees out of work as we head into the holiday season. The owner says she can’t afford to stay open since federal funding expired Sept. 30. State legislators considered but eventually decided not to add day care funding to the state budget for the next two years.

“You just have a peace of mind, and then the peace of mind is lost, and you start from scratch,” her father, Eric Seller, said. “We had a good routine, a good system,” the young girl’s mother, Angelique Seller, added. “And when that system falls apart, you’re in a panic, and do I keep my job?’

Read more here.

Utah

ProPublica: Utah Child Care Providers Are Struggling. Lawmakers Haven’t Helped.

Aleatha Child struggled to keep her Brigham City, Utah, day care open after federal funding meant to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic ended last September. She raised the fees she charged families and let an employee go.

… Child concluded that her child care license could soon be useless and decided her day care will close at the end of the month.

“I’ve thought long and hard about this, I love this job and love my families but this is what’s best for my family and they come first,” she wrote in a social media post in mid-February.

Read more here.

KSL TV: ‘This is not sustainable’: How the child care crisis impacts Utah

… Aleatha Child runs an in-home day care in Brigham City. Child received “a couple thousand each month” in federal funding, and it made a difference.

But at the end of September, that federal funding ended, and Child’s allotment is basically gone. Even after modestly raising her prices, she has had to make some tough choices.

“I had to let go staff,” Child said.

Aleatha Child runs an in-home day care in Brigham City. A lack of funding has forced her to make some tough choices.

That means she’s now the sole staffer at her day care – other than a parent volunteer – taking care of nine children.

“I don’t know what the future holds,” said Child. “but I am trying everything I can to keep my program afloat and going because I absolutely love the families, and I love the kids.”

Read more here.

Utah News Dispatch: Utah faces a $400 million child care cliff. Still, Utah lawmakers are set on a tax cut.

Legislative leaders at the helm of Utah’s Senate GOP majority told reporters Thursday they likely won’t find money within Utah’s budget, projected to be more than $29.5 billion this year, to make up for the $400 million child care shortfall.

“I don’t think we can,” said Senate Majority Whip Ann Millner, R-Ogden. She looked to Executive Appropriations Chairman Sen. Jerry Stevenson, one of the most powerful lawmakers leading budget decisions, and she joked he “might have heart failure” if he had to find such revenue.

“We don’t really have that kind of money,” Millner said. Legislative leaders have said they’re working with a limited amount of new revenue this year compared to past years because of the cooling economy and the end of federal stimulus money.

…“This is not just about paying for child care,” Miller said. “It’s about the supply. … We do not have enough. We’ve got to do something that would help leverage that.”

…“We’ve heard a lot of really heartbreaking stories from providers who have had to raise their tuition and watch families that they care about … drop out of their program and find some unknown child care arrangement to make sure their kids are safe while they’re working,” she said.


Read more here.

ProPublica: Utah Bills Itself as “Family-Friendly” Even as Lawmakers Have Long Neglected Child Care

Federal pandemic relief funding eased the shortage by helping day care owners cover basic expenses like rent and supplies. After Utah received nearly $574 million in aid during 2020 and 2021, the number of licensed child care slots rose by about 30% from March 2020 to August 2023, according to a report by Voices for Utah Children, an advocacy group. The funding also provided child care subsidies to more lower-income families.

But on September 30 most of that federal funding expired, and Utah legislators have rejected proposals to replace it with state dollars — continuing decades of local opposition to expanding and improving outside-of-home care for young children.

The result, according to working parents and child care providers who spoke to ProPublica, is that a state billing itself as the most “family-friendly” in the nation does too little to ensure that care for children of working parents is accessible and affordable.

The child care providers who spoke to ProPublica said the federal funding kept them in business. Now, with the loss of that money, most said they are being forced to raise their rates or let employees go and care for fewer kids while working longer hours for less pay. Some said they are considering closing their doors and changing careers.

… Annette Wasden, an in-home care provider in Clinton, north of Salt Lake City, said she used the grants to hire two additional employees, who she can no longer afford. She plans to close her day care and leave the state. Wasden, a second-generation child care provider, said the work is her passion but she doesn’t feel respected.

… In September, Anderson, the ABC Great Beginnings president and former legislator, sent two letters to his customers. One detailed why the company needed to raise its rates by an average of about 5% after the relief funding ended. The other urged parents to contact their state representatives and “tell them that the Legislature needs to provide additional and adequate funding for child care” to avoid program closures and tuition increases.

ABC Great Beginnings’ payroll costs rose by about 50% after receiving the stabilization grants, according to the letter. Recently, Anderson has also seen vacancies in his classrooms, which could be due to the state’s expansion of all-day kindergarten. Anderson also wonders if raising rates has led families to turn to child care that is unpaid or unregulated, which is difficult to track. Enrollment at his 15 Salt Lake City area centers has declined 6% compared to last year.

… Aleatha Child runs a home-based day care in northern Utah’s Box Elder County, which has one of the worst shortages of licensed child care spots in the state, according to the Voices for Utah Children analysis.

… She said the federal grants paid for an additional staffer, as well as supplies and toys and replacing aging carpet in the classroom.

As the funding ended, Child considered closing her day care and working at her son’s elementary school, either in the cafeteria or as a teacher’s assistant. She’d still be around children, she reasoned. But for now she is keeping her day care open, raising her rates and cutting expenses where she can. She said she’s begun selling blood plasma to make ends meet.

… Sharon Miller, the only day care provider in the central Utah town of Helper, has reduced her hours and enrollment since the grants ended. The money had allowed Miller to hire help, but she recently returned to working alone.

The Salt Lake Tribune: Opinion: Child care programs, like the one I run, are at risk of closing

The child care stabilization funds in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) have been a lifeline for programs like mine. But now that our ARPA grant is ending, the child care cliff has arrived, and we have to raise our rate by 30% to keep the doors open.

Even before the $300/month increase, a third of our students could only attend because grandparents pitched in for tuition. Sure enough, since announcing the hike, I’ve lost four students because their families can no longer afford our program.

The increase puts tuition far beyond parents’ budget. I’ve seen some of our families face an impossible choice: One parent must leave their job — drastically cutting their family’s income and stalling their career — or they must enroll their child in a program not equipped to meet their needs.

Read more here.

Public News Service: Report examines UT child-care crisis

A new report found licensed child care programs in Utah are only able to serve about 36% of all children younger than 6 whose parents are working.

Mike Wade, owner of First Steps Childcare and Preschool in Salt Lake City, said he views the child care sector as being “stuck somewhere between the private sector and the social service sector.” Wade considers child care an essential service, especially for mothers who want to work.

…Wade recognized the state “stepped up during the pandemic,” thanks to stabilization grants which were helpful. The report states the funds were cut by 75% last month and will end by next spring, putting the progress made at risk.”

Read more here. 

Virginia

12 on Your Side: Childcare providers worry for future without federal funding 

A big concern expressed – that the federal funding of 24 million dollars allocated for childcare stabilization – is gone.

…The president of Virginia Childcare Association, Clark Andrs, explained that he also owns multiple childcare facilities in Chesterfield County.

He said without federal funding, his staff is decreasing… because he can’t afford to pay them a livable wage.

Read more here.

WGN-TV: Future of childcare funding uncertain as Congress considers Biden administration request

…Hopkins House is a Virginia child care center that’s been educating young kids for decades. But the president of Hopkins House, J. Glenn Hopkins, says right now his industry is in trouble.

…In October, billions of dollars in federal funding for childcare expired. That forced Hopkins House to raise their tuition.

Henrico Citizen: Expiration of covid-era funding creates rocky future for Virginia child care

…Owner Elizabeth Oppong received past government funding, and said she’s still struggling to keep the doors open. Her situation will be worse without federal funding, she said.

Oppong can’t afford to hire more teachers, she said. That also means she cannot enroll new students, because there are state protocols for teacher to student ratios in day cares. She loses money every day, but there is a demand for her services.

“I get parents calling me every day,” she said. “I do have spots, but I don’t have a teacher yet.”

Read more here.

West Virginia

EdSurge: Fresh Food, Dance Class, and Nap Mats: What’s Lost Without Federal Money for Child Care

But the funds ran out in September 2023. Since then, Gale — and thousands more child care providers just like her — have had to change the way they operate.

The historic investment the ARPA funds provided revealed just how much child care could improve in this country with sustained federal support. Now policymakers will have to decide whether to make that vision a long-lasting reality — or accept the old status quo.

… “The plan was to have all four [rooms] opened by the time funding ran out, but I only have one open right now,” she says.

Without the extension of the ARPA funds, she faces having to sell the unfinished units.

“It’s a shame, because there is such a demand for child care,” Gale says.

… Extra pandemic funding meant Gale could serve fresh foods, including fruit, vegetables and meat. Breakfasts started to include sliced peaches, apples, tomatoes and scrambled eggs. Lunches included chicken stir fry, chicken enchiladas, roast beef, or broccoli quiche, among other options. For an afternoon snack, children had sliced apples with peanut butter.

But when that money dried up, Gale switched back to the more affordable food options for children that still fall well within the state nutrition guidelines: peanut butter and jelly, hot dogs, mac and cheese, and breakfast cereal. Instead of fresh versions, teachers now serve canned beans, meats, fruits and vegetables. Snacks are graham or saltine crackers instead of apples.

… ARPA funds allowed Gale to try new teaching activities. She used grant money to purchase raised garden beds and sunflower kits so that her kids could take on gardening projects. She purchased notebooks for the kids so they could document the growth of the sunflowers, soil, seeds and water.

She also received a Regional Outdoor Play Improvement grant through the West Virginia Early Childhood Training Connections and Resources program, which she used to purchase additional jungle-gym climbers for the children to improve their gross motor skills. She also purchased sensory tables, which can be filled with items like beans or sand for kids to play in.

The ARPA funds allowed her to bring in outside teachers to lead dance and music classes, and to teach social-emotional learning lessons, but those programs stopped when the funding was cut off.

“No more outside experts, unless they can do it for free,” Gale says.

Instead of new notebooks and arts and crafts supplies, Gale now offers the kids more worksheets and crayons. “It’s stripping children of learning in a meaningful way,” she says.

Read more here.

The 19th: Child care programs see closures, resignations and tuition hikes after federal funding expires

In Fairmont, West Virginia, Helen Post-Brown owns and operates an early learning program licensed to serve 160 children. These days, due to staff shortages, she can only accommodate about half that many.

A dozen miles down the road, in Bridgeport, five of the 25 classrooms in Jennifer Trippett’s child care center sit dark and empty. Families in the community are desperately awaiting her call for a spot: More than 400 children are on the waitlist. But without teachers, she can’t take in more kids.

Another 120 miles south, in the town of Oak Hill, staff at Melissa Colagrosso’s early education program are reeling from pay cuts that went into effect in October. They aren’t sure how they’ll make their next car payment or cover their phone bill. They might need to apply for public assistance — and maybe a new job. Colagrosso wouldn’t blame them, she admits. She is already bracing herself for their resignations. If those come, she will have to consider closing classrooms and turning families away.

It’s been two months since the federal government’s $24 billion in child care stabilization grants expired, sending the sector over what many have come to refer to as the “child care cliff.”

“What’s happening in West Virginia is not an anomaly,” says Melissa Boteach, vice president of child care and income security at the National Women’s Law Center. “It is echoed by the experiences of child care providers and parents across the country.”

…The essential worker exception, however, has ended, after being phased out over the last year. So those employees who came back to work for Trippett once their child care costs were covered? “They’ve left again,” she says; so have many of the moms who had re-entered the workforce.

…The wage supplements ended on Sept. 30. All of Colagrosso’s employees, as a result, took a pay cut of $400 a month. For many, though they knew the funding was always supposed to be temporary, that first paycheck in October was sobering.

…Colagrosso hasn’t lost any teachers yet, so she’s been able to keep her classrooms open. But she did increase her prices by 20 percent, effective Oct. 15.

It was necessary to offset the funds that disappeared, Colagrosso says. She gave families two weeks’ notice and hopes to “ease everyone into it” by not enforcing the tuition hikes until their child transitions to the next age group.

Ellie O’Keefe is among the parents who received the notice from A Place to Grow, which her toddler attends. She’s currently paying $155 a week for full-time care. Based on the center’s pricing model, she expected her costs to go down when her son turns 3 in a few months. Instead, her pay will go up to $170 a week when he transitions to the 3-year-old classroom.

…Tens of thousands of Americans missed work in October, the first month without stabilization grants, due to child care problems, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 92,000 Americans who typically work full time reported having to work part time for at least one week last month because of issues with their child care arrangements, compared to 55,000 Americans in September.

Those numbers should be a wakeup call to elected leaders, Boteach of the National Women’s Law Center says.

“It’s an economic imperative. It’s a moral imperative. But lawmakers should also see it as a political imperative: It’s affecting families’ bottom line,” she says.

Read more here.

NPR: $400-a-month pandemic bonuses were life-changing for child care workers. That’s over

Funded through $24 billion in pandemic relief Congress approved in 2021, the bonuses made life a lot easier for the center’s teachers and staff.

But with the expiration of the federal money on September 30 came the end to those bonuses.

“All of the staff have taken a $400-a-month pay cut,” says Colagrosso.

…In addition to curbing bonuses, she has ended paid sick leave for part-time staff and says she will end it for full-time staff soon. She’s eliminated a floating position, someone to help out wherever extra help was needed.

No longer will she be giving $1 an hour raises every year, as she has for the past three. She may resort to larger child-to-teacher ratios, which she says would affect quality.

Read more here.

AP: Child care programs just lost thousands of federal dollars. Families and providers scramble to cope

…If West Virginia wants to grow its economy, child care is part the infrastructure necessary for that to happen, Tiffany Gale said. She isn’t a parent herself, but just months before the pandemic started, she began caring for six children at her home in West Virginia’s northern panhandle.

In just three years, she’s moved up a level in the state’s quality rating status and expanded into an empty commercial space downtown. She has five staff members and 18 children — 24 split between the two sites — who would have otherwise been waitlisted. Three-quarters of them are considered low-income, and qualify for government-subsidized care.

With the help of federal subsidies, Gale was able to purchase the two units next door. But now that the pandemic-era support is ending, Gale doesn’t know if she’ll be able to stay in business.

Read more here.

Wisconsin

CNN: ‘Just too burnt out’: Child care crisis crunches providers

For the past eight years in the small city of Waupaca, Wisconsin, Susan Elandt has been a fixture for dozens of families — taking care of their children, some as early as 4:45 a.m., so they can get to work.

… The historic $24 billion federal investment helped more than 225,000 providers nationwide — or more than 8 in 10 licensed child care centers — and affected as many as

10 million children. But it expired last September, leaving many centers facing what’s been dubbed “the child care cliff.

… Elandt has implemented several rate increases for parents in the last year, knowing it would increase their burden. She felt there was no other choice because a return to pre-pandemic salaries would likely mean losing her whole staff. In some cases the higher wages weren’t enough. A few months ago, she says, one of her employees left for a factory: “She needed to make a living.”

… Elandt first started thinking seriously about leaving her business two years ago and tried to sell, but no viable option emerged. In May, she made the formal announcement that this summer would be the center’s last.

Read more here.

News8000.com: Despite an extension to a child care subsidy program, Wisconsin families and providers continue to face struggles

Child Care Counts — a state child care subsidy program — was on the brink of ending until Gov. Tony Evers found $170 million in federal dollars to keep it running until June 2025. However, the Child Care Counts payments are half of what they used to be as the state looks to stretch the funding out for as long as possible.

… She added that with reduced Child Care Counts payments, providers struggle to hang onto their staff.

“Now it’s harder to have health insurance, you don’t have a 401(k), the rates aren’t as much when you can go somewhere else for $18 bucks an hour and do less work.” And if current providers can’t grow, parents may never get off the waitlist.

… Wermager is planning to host a fundraiser so her center can start working on their expansion plan sooner rather than later.

Read more here.

WashPost: Opinion: What happened to this Wisconsin day care should concern us all

…Zastoupil knew she couldn’t maintain her employees, and therefore the business, without this subsidy. She could not endure the hours required to run the program entirely by herself. Raising tuition to compensate for lost grant money was not viable, either. Reluctantly, on May 19, she closed her doors for good…When Zasty’s closed, 13 children in the Milton area lost their day-care arrangements.

Across Wisconsin, 168 child-care businesses, which collectively had a regulated capacity to care for nearly 5,000 kids, closed in the three months following the grant cuts, according to state data collected by Corrine Hendrickson, a child-care provider and advocate of additional funding.

Read more here.

Wyoming

The Sundance Times: Daycare grapples with loss of pandemic grant

Kid Prints Inc. is facing a significant budget deficit after losing a grant that has been in place since the pandemic began. The board of directors is pursuing numerous options to keep the daycare’s doors open to local young families.

“As of September, we lost the $60,000 grant we’ve been receiving,” said Janie Hett, Board of Directors. This grant has been in place since the pandemic began and was intended to facilitate COVID-19 relief.

The daycare is still managing to operate at under a $43,000 deficit, said Hett, but this obviously needs to be reduced.

“Last year, we increased our tuition by 5% while increasing our wages over 15% just to try to recruit and retain staff,” she said. “We have made a concerted effort to keep our tuition rates low for everyone who is struggling with our current state of economy.”

Kid Prints now intends to increase its tuition rates by another 5% in an effort to shore up the deficit. This would reduce the annual operating deficit to $22,000.

“We really tried not to have to increase our tuition, but we have to keep our doors open,” Hett said.

With the budget as it stands, Kid Prints is set to run out of money by February.

“We’re just racking our brains to try to figure out how do we make this business profitable – even if it’s not profitable, just sustainable – so that we can continue to provide,” Hett said.

“…It’s dire. We have to fix something.”

Read more here.