A pair of legislative initiatives aimed at stabilizing child care across the nation recently passed the House of Representatives. The Child Care is Essential Act and the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, both seen as bipartisan, will next move the Senate.
As stay-at-home orders proliferated across the nation, it became apparent that child care services were needed for essential workers. The laws would provide support to the industry during the pandemic.
“As a working mom who has had to piece together child care during the pandemic, I know how important this issue is for our families, businesses, and communities,” said Rep. Mickie Sherrill. “How we address this child care crisis will have a deep reverberation through our economy and on the health and safety of families and workers.”
Child Care is Essential Act
Under the Child Care is Essential Act, which was cosponsored by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization fund would be established. The funding would be used to prop up these businesses across the nation.
In New Jersey, without sufficient federal support, some 147,889 licensed child care slots could be lost, representing about 54% of the state’s child care supply. Prior the pandemic, New Jersey had not met demand for child care, with 2.3 children per child care slot. Some say the number has risen to five children per slot during the pandemic.
“As I’ve heard from many members of the North Jersey community throughout this crisis, affordable child care is vital to our economy and vital to the working families who are helping keep New Jersey’s Fifth District afloat. We must make sure our child care providers have the support they need as they continue to care for kids throughout my district,” said Gottheimer.
Child Care for Economic Recovery Act
The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act would provide aid to essential workers in accessing child day care. Additionally, it would offer grant funding to states looking to adapt, expand, or reconfigured child-care services and infrastructure to better contend with the pandemic.
The law would make the child and dependent care tax credit refundable, providing access to the credit to for many low- and middle-income families for the first time.
“But this is only the first step. We need to include funding in future coronavirus stimulus packages to protect child-care facilities nationwide before they go out of business. Americans are going to need quality, affordable childcare once we reopen safely and completely,” said Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr.