$3.5 Billion for Child Care in Coronavirus Package is Not Enough: How States Will Fare

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which the U.S Senate passed unanimously last night and the U.S. House will consider on March 27, is another step forward in providing economic relief to families, workers, and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. However, the bill falls short of ensuring that everyone—particularly people with low incomes, people of color, immigrants, and people with disabilities—has the necessary financial support to meet their health, nutrition, and caregiving needs.

The CARES Act includes $3.5 billion in emergency funding to support child care through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which states can use to begin to address critical child care needs. However, the funding is insufficient given the scope of the crisis, and child care providers and families have many additional needs the bill does not address.1 This fact sheet shows CLASP’s estimates for how the $3.5 billion in emergency CCDBG funding will be allocated to the states. The bill allows states to use this funding to:

  • provide continued payments and assistance to child care providers in the case of decreased enrollment or closures related to coronavirus, and to assure they are able to remain open or reopen as appropriate;
  • provide child care assistance, without regard to income, to health care sector employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers, and other workers deemed essential during the response to the coronavirus; and
  • provide funding to child care providers who were not participating in subsidy prior to the public health emergency for the purposes of cleaning and sanitation and other activities necessary to maintain or resume the operation of programs.

Child care is a $99 billion industry that is the backbone of the economy, providing safe places for children to learn and grow and an essential work support for parents. Yet even under typical circumstances and a strong economy, millions of providers operate on razor-thin margins. These challenges are exacerbated in the current crisis in which child care centers and homes are closing, families are losing jobs and unable to pay for care, and emergency and essential personnel have elevated and unique child care needs. Recent research from the National Association for the Education of Young Children reveals that only 30 percent of the 6,000 child care providers surveyed would be able to survive a closure of more than two weeks without substantial support. The stakes are high and the child care needs are urgent. We urge Congress to include a substantial investment of $50 billion in child care in the next coronavirus stimulus package to provide communities with the support they need.