Without more federal funds, half of all child care centers could close forever
By Jackie Mader
There have been some federal efforts to help child care centers, but those efforts fall far short of what is needed. The CARES Act includes initiatives like the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans that are converted to grants if small businesses meet all requirements. But some child care centers have found the requirements for the application difficult to meet and banks have been overwhelmed by applications. The aid package also provided $750 million for Head Start programs and $3.5 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the program that provides states with funding to pay or supplement the child care tuition for low-income families. This week, Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced another aid package that if passed, would provide an additional $7 billion for the CCDBG. That came after more than 30 senators signed a letter in April calling for Congress to pass a legislative package that would include at least $50 billion in emergency funding for child care centers. But experts say even that would be a drop in the bucket. “Our estimates show that $50 billion is actually far less than what the system needs if the crisis lasts longer than a few months,” said Rebecca Ullrich, senior policy analyst for child care & early education at The Center for Law and Policy (CLASP) in a statement. At least $9.6 billion in public funding is needed each month to avoid permanent closure of child care centers and preserve the child care system during the coronavirus pandemic, according to an analysis by CLASP.
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