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New data from ACF underscores the significant impact of federal investments in the child care system

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    New data from ACF underscores the significant impact of federal investments in the child care system

    On October 24, The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released new data illustrating how states have utilized Child Care Stabilization Funds authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). To date, these emergency resources have assisted more than 200,000 child care providers serving as many as 9.5 million children in counties across the country. Given our significant role in supporting local child care systems, county governments urge our federal partners to build on this success by making new, long-term investments in stabilizing and strengthening the child care industry, which has yet to fully recover from the pandemic.   

    The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the essential role child care plays in supporting children, families, businesses and the overall economy. It also highlighted the existing fragility of the child care market: within the current system, many families cannot access or afford high-quality care, even as the workforce is underpaid for skilled and valuable work. In response, ARPA included a significant $50 billion one-time investment in emergency funds to stabilize the child care industry and facilitate economic recovery, including $24 billion in Stabilization Funds—available until September 30, 2023—for states to distribute to local providers at risk of going out of business.

    Stabilization Funds can support a variety of key operating expenses, including wages and benefits such as sign-on bonuses to incentivize employment, rent and utilities, personal protective equipment, cleaning and sanitization and many other goods and services necessary to maintain or resume child care services. To date, more than 8 out of every 10 licensed child care centers have received assistance, including family child care providers, with more than 90 percent of recipients stating that the funds kept them from closing their doors during the pandemic and its aftermath. Investments have largely focused on making child care more affordable for families, increasing the supply of child care workers and meeting basic operating expenses, such as rent payments.

    The ACF data illustrate that Stabilization Funds are a lifeline keeping providers afloat in an industry that has yet to fully recover from the pandemic. However, this temporary assistance cannot fully address the underlying structural challenges facing the child care sector, which has lost 100,000 workers and an estimated 16,000 licensed providers since the onset of the pandemic.

    In this turbulent time, there must be a historic federal investment that will rebuild a stronger child care system with a fairly compensated professional workforce. Counties urge Congress to pursue a comprehensive strategy to support and sustain an increased living wage for child care workers while also ensuring all families have equitable access to affordable, high-quality early care and education for their children.

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES 

    • ARP Child Care Stabilization Funding State Fact Sheets
    • NACo Policy Brief: Support the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF)
    • NACo Legislative Toolkit: Federal Policy Levers for Stabilizing the Child Care Industry
    • NACo Blog: ACL releases 2022 national strategy to support family caregivers
    • NACo Blog: New Census data confirms that expanded Child Tax Credit cut child poverty by nearly half in 2021
    • NACo Blog: ACF announces $300 million in new funding opportunities for early childhood education
    On October 24, The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released new data illustrating how states have utilized Child Care Stabilization
    2022-11-01
    Blog
    2022-11-01
ACF data shows how pandemic era investments in child care kept programs open and families employed Counties urge Congress to make enhanced and long-term investments in the child care system

On October 24, The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released new data illustrating how states have utilized Child Care Stabilization Funds authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). To date, these emergency resources have assisted more than 200,000 child care providers serving as many as 9.5 million children in counties across the country. Given our significant role in supporting local child care systems, county governments urge our federal partners to build on this success by making new, long-term investments in stabilizing and strengthening the child care industry, which has yet to fully recover from the pandemic.   

The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the essential role child care plays in supporting children, families, businesses and the overall economy. It also highlighted the existing fragility of the child care market: within the current system, many families cannot access or afford high-quality care, even as the workforce is underpaid for skilled and valuable work. In response, ARPA included a significant $50 billion one-time investment in emergency funds to stabilize the child care industry and facilitate economic recovery, including $24 billion in Stabilization Funds—available until September 30, 2023—for states to distribute to local providers at risk of going out of business.

Stabilization Funds can support a variety of key operating expenses, including wages and benefits such as sign-on bonuses to incentivize employment, rent and utilities, personal protective equipment, cleaning and sanitization and many other goods and services necessary to maintain or resume child care services. To date, more than 8 out of every 10 licensed child care centers have received assistance, including family child care providers, with more than 90 percent of recipients stating that the funds kept them from closing their doors during the pandemic and its aftermath. Investments have largely focused on making child care more affordable for families, increasing the supply of child care workers and meeting basic operating expenses, such as rent payments.

The ACF data illustrate that Stabilization Funds are a lifeline keeping providers afloat in an industry that has yet to fully recover from the pandemic. However, this temporary assistance cannot fully address the underlying structural challenges facing the child care sector, which has lost 100,000 workers and an estimated 16,000 licensed providers since the onset of the pandemic.

In this turbulent time, there must be a historic federal investment that will rebuild a stronger child care system with a fairly compensated professional workforce. Counties urge Congress to pursue a comprehensive strategy to support and sustain an increased living wage for child care workers while also ensuring all families have equitable access to affordable, high-quality early care and education for their children.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES 

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    <h3><strong>Counties Matter in Human Services</strong></h3>

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    Human Services & Education Steering Committee

    All matters pertaining to children’s issues, foster care,  public assistance and income support, services to senior citizens and individuals with disabilities, immigration policy, social services, and elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. Policy Platform & Resolutions 2022-2023 2022 NACo Legislative Priorities
    page

    <p>All matters pertaining to children&rsquo;s issues, foster care,&nbsp; public assistance and income support, services to senior citizens and individuals with disabilities, immigration policy, social services, and elementary,

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