Child Care Takes Center Stage in Presidential Race


America needs child care relief to keep the industry afloat during the nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The disastrous economic crisis has hit the child care industry especially hard, causing widespread layoffs and closures as a result of catastrophic drops in enrollment.

The devastating impact of these financial realities cannot be sustained without direct federal investments through a child care stabilization fund that ensures providers can keep their doors open to meet the needs of children and families.The situation varies from state to state, and even from community to community. Here’s a look at recent news coverage and analysis of the nation’s child care crisis.

THE LATEST: In a live televised event this week, former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, unveiled his proposal to invest in high-quality early learning and care programs that support families, communities, and businesses across the country. Child care remains an overwhelmingly bipartisan issue among voters nationally, and has become a focal point of candidates for office on both sides of the aisle. Read the full Biden proposal here.

WHITE HOUSE TO FOCUS ON CHILD CARE IN COLORADO: During a trip to Colorado this week, Ivanka Trump will tour a child care facility and participate in a roundtable with providers, parents, and local stakeholders on the importance of child care to America’s economic recovery and the best practices to ensure children and workers can return safely. Read more about her visit here.

BIPARTISAN MOVEMENT FOR CHILD CARE IN CONGRESS: Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), introduced the Back to Work Child Care Grants Act of 2020, which would provide dedicated economic assistance to stabilize the child care industry and resources to child care providers amid the COVID-19 crisis. Original Senate co-sponsors include John Cornyn (R-TX), Susan Collins (R-ME), Steven Daines (R-ME), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Todd Young (R-IN). Additionally, 41 Republican lawmakers in the House sent a letter to Congressional leaders calling for dedicated federal relief for child care providers and businesses to stabilize an industry that has been devastated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. House Democrats expect a floor vote on the Child Care is Essential Act on Monday, which would create a $50 billion child care stabilization fund through the upcoming COVID-19 recovery package.

MASSIVE VOTER SUPPORT FOR CHILD CARE RELIEF: A poll released this week by First Five Years Fund and the Center for American Progress found broad support and demand for dedicated federal relief for child care providers. The support cuts across political affiliation and among key constituencies, with more than 80 percent in favor of a federal child care stabilization fund. Read the full results of this poll here.

BUSINESS LEADERS CALL FOR CHILD CARE RELIEF: In a letter to Congressional leaders, the Business Roundtable urged support for child care providers, writing, “to help individuals and families manage through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, Business Roundtable supports additional resources for childcare providers to ensure greater access to affordable, quality care and early education.”

IN THE STATES: With less than half of child care facilities open for business in Michigan, access to care remains a barrier to reopening the state economy because parents are stuck on waiting lists and struggling to find open spaces for their children as they return to work. In Indiana, WBAA talked with a panel of child care experts to discuss how the pandemic has impacted child care facilities and families. Parents in Kansas are sharing their stories of struggling to find child care until school starts after the state announced classes would not begin until after Labor Day.