Child care workers are the backbone of our economy. High-quality child care allows parents to stay in the workforce, and is particularly important for mothers, who still typically take on most of the caregiving responsibilities at home. Child care workers also provide an essential role in supporting children’s learning and healthy development—more critical than ever for children experiencing the disruption of the public health crisis. Yet even before the pandemic began, child care workers – nearly all of whom are women – were underpaid and undervalued. As COVID-19 forced many providers to close, the child care industry has suffered massive job losses. Between February and April 2020, the industry lost 370,600 jobs, over a third of its workforce, with women accounting for 95% of those losses. Between April and July, only about 4 in 10 (42%) of the lost jobs returned. As of July, the child care workforce is only 79% as large as it was in February, before the pandemic began.