Bonamici, Merkley, Wyden Call on Leadership to Provide $50 Billion for Child Care in Next Coronavirus Relief Package

BEAVERTON, Ore. [04/13/20] – Representative Suzanne Bonamici, Senator Jeff Merkley, and Senator Ron Wyden called on House Leadership to provide $50 billion to support the already-struggling child care sector in the next coronavirus pandemic response package.

“Even before the current COVID-19 pandemic, too many families were struggling to find affordable, high-quality child care,” the Congresswoman and Senators wrote in a joint letter to Congressional leadership. “Since the pandemic started, access to child care has become more critical and more scarce.”

According to a recent report by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), one out of four Oregon child care providers would not survive a closure of more than two weeks without additional funding, and one out of five reported they could not survive a closure of any length.

“Closure of these businesses will seriously damage our child care infrastructure, and have the dual effect of being devastating for these businesses and their workforce and making it impossible for many parents to reenter the workforce.”

In the letter, the Congresswoman and Senators call for $50 billion in emergency funding for the child care sector to be used in three ways:

  • Additional funding to help essential and emergency workers cover the cost of child care during the pandemic;
  • Dedicated funding or structured grants to help child care providers cover operating expenses, with appropriate oversight mechanisms; and
  • Hazard pay, robust labor standards, and personal protective equipment for child care workers.

Congress has taken some action to support the child care sector during the pandemic. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included $3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to provide for continued payment and assistance to child care providers and to support child care for essential workers. It also provided $750 million in grants for Head Start, including up to $500 million for support of summer programs in certain areas. Based on research and input from child care providers and families, however, significant additional support is urgently needed.