For Immediate Release
March 19, 2020
Contact: Marisol Bello, [email protected]
Community Change Action Calls for an Investment of $100 Billion in Child Care
The Scale of Our Child Care Emergency Demands It
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Congress and the White House negotiate the next round of stimulus packages, members of Congress must protect the existing child care infrastructure and ensure families have access to emergency child care if they have to work and that child care providers are able to safely care for children in need. Giving the growing scale of the child care crisis now aggravated by this pandemic, we are calling for a federal investment of $100 billion to address the immediate need and the long term impacts on families and care workers.
Safe, quality and affordable child care is at the heart of every family. Children benefit from early care and education that nurtures their minds and bodies, while parents can put in a good day’s work without worrying about the well-being of their children. As child care centers are forced to close, we need to ensure that providers can reopen their doors and get the help they need to take care of their families in the meantime. Those centers that stay open will need training, safety supplies, medical care and fair compensation for their work in these critical moments. Child care providers shouldn’t be made to choose between making a living for their families and their health.
Almost 300,000 people, most of them women, care for our children as their primary job. These workers need to be stable and able to feed their own families and pay for their homes and other essentials as states require child care centers to close. Some states are leading the way as models for supporting early childhood educators during this crisis. The state of New Mexico, for example, will continue to pay child care providers that are forced to shut down while paying an extra $250 per child for those that stay open. But soon, states will run out of money and the federal government will need to take swift action to address this crisis.
Meanwhile, more than 15 million working parents have children under 6 years old. For those who have to work outside of their home during this pandemic, child care should be free. Essential workers who are parents are in a particularly vulnerable position. Health care workers, first responders, and retail workers in grocery stores and pharmacies that can not close need child care so they can go do their jobs.
“Child care is an essential resource for families, as critical as food and a safe and affordable place to call home,” says Wendoly Marte, director of economic justice for Community Change Action. “This emergency shows us just how connected we all are, that our safety and health and that of our children depends on the safety and health of each member of our communities. We need short-term solutions to help providers stay afloat and families receive emergency care and long-term solutions that provide universal care for all of our children. We don’t need Congress to fund government bailouts for corporations and the wealthy few while working parents and child care workers making an average of $12 an hour are forced to struggle. What we need is a bold federal solution to meet the scale of the crisis that’s aimed at making sure all families can thrive.”
Community Change Action is a national organization that builds the power of low-income people, especially people of color, to fight for a society where everyone can thrive.