State-by-State Estimates of $50 Billion Needed by Child Care Sector to Weather the Pandemic

Washington, DC, May 5, 2020—The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the long-standing frailty of the child care system, which now teeters on the verge of collapse. Policymakers and advocates are responding, with many members of Congress and nearly 500 advocates calling for an infusion of $50 billion in direct public funding to enable the child care system to survive the pandemic.

In a new analysis, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) estimates how much each state would get if $50 billion were allocated in the same way used to distribute child care funding in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. While Congress has yet to decide on how much funding it will dedicate to shoring up the child care system or the mechanism for doing so, CLASP’s analysis shows states what funds they could potentially receive to assist their providers. The estimate ranges from $61.7 million for Wyoming to $5 billion for California. This builds on a recent report co-authored by CLASP estimating that the monthly cost of sustaining the child care sector is $9.6 billion.

“An infusion of $50 billion would allow states to preserve the already-precarious child care system and keep providers in business without overburdening families whose resources are at their limit right now. Without new public funds, we run the risk the of decimating the very system that allows essential workers to stay on the job and will ensure that parents can get back to work when it’s time to reopen the economy,” said Stephanie Schmit, CLASP senior policy analyst and author of the state-by-state analysis.

If Congress fails to act, our nation would exacerbate the child care crisis that existed long before the pandemic. And if the child care system is eviscerated, parents would have difficulty returning to work, children wouldn’t have the critical supports needed for their health and well-being, and the livelihoods of millions of women who work in child care —disproportionately women of color—would be at risk.

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The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) is a national, nonpartisan, anti-poverty organization advancing policy solutions for people with low incomes. CLASP’s solutions directly address the barriers people face because of their race, ethnicity, and immigration status.