On the following pages, you’ll read stories shared by just a few of your constituents – parents, grandparents, early childhood educators, home-based child care providers, and small business owners who are struggling each day to navigate the reality of a child care system that this country has pushed to the brink of collapse with a lack of sufficient public investment. We asked families, providers and educators to share their truth, and these reflections represent a moment in time within the ever changing and evolving reality of families, providers and educators.
Prior to the pandemic and through decades of underfunding, families often struggled to find and afford safe, highquality
child care even as early childhood educators propped up the fragile system with their poverty-level wages. At a time when COVID-19 creates new imperatives for the safe care of children and preservation of the well-being of
children, families and providers, prolonged closures and increased costs have destabilized child care even further. As some programs shutter permanently, the losses will be deeply felt by businesses that cannot hire, parents who must leave the workforce, educators who lose their livelihoods, and children who lose a crucial connection and support for their positive growth and development.
For all its challenges, the hardships and devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted many powerful truths. One of these is that child care is an essential thread in the fabric of our communities. It’s an integral part of our public health infrastructure and the backbone of our economy. Yet we are way behind as a country in ensuring
equitable access to safe, high-quality child care and early learning, with fair compensation for the workforce.
We are encouraged by the federal investments made thus far, which are a down payment on a future that we know is not only possible but necessary. In these stories, you will hear clearly the need to make additional, substantial, direct investments in child care an urgent priority so that states can provide support and supplies for programs to keep their communities safe, including pre-existing standards for care and the new costs of additional materials, including personal protective equipment, and increased space for the safe care of children; provide funding to compensate providers for their skilled, valuable, and essential work; and ensure meaningful and accessible choices of quality care for all families.
This is our path forward, towards an equitable economic recovery, and a brighter future for our children. As you make decisions to support our communities in safely reopening over time, let these voices of families and educators speaking together be your guide. The time to act to save child care is now.
Center for American Progress (CAP)
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Child Care Aware® of America
Every Child Matters
Family Values at Work
Low Income Investment Fund
MomsRising / MamásConPoder
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
National Women’s Law Center
Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United
ZERO TO THREE