This brief provides new estimates of what it would cost to sustain the child care system during the coronavirus pandemic. Our nation’s child care system was already fragile before the coronavirus pandemic–providers operated on razor-thin margins, workers made poverty-level wages, and families struggled to afford care. Now the public health and economic crises we are facing have severely strained the system. Absent adequate investment, many temporary child care closures will become permanent ones, hampering our economic recovery.
This analysis shows that at least $9.6 billion is needed each month to fully fund existing providers in the child care system. These funds would allow closed providers to retain their staff at full pay, be prepared to reopen at the appropriate time, and eliminate cost burdens for families whose providers are closed. These funds will also allow open providers to offer safe, comprehensive emergency care at no cost to children of essential workers.