Editor: After a long, hard-fought election, it’s time to look ahead to the next four years. We have no time to lose. America’s child care industry must be prioritized to jumpstart our recovery from COVID-19. Millions of parents can’t get back to work until their children return to safe, high-quality, affordable child care settings.
COVID-19 placed an already fragile industry in an increasingly dire situation. Before COVID-19, access to child care was unobtainable for many families due to exorbitant costs or lack of availability. Additionally, despite the substantial cost to parents, the child care workforce was underpaid, with a majority of workers relying on some form of public assistance for support.
Since the outbreak, around one-third of child care providers have closed, average enrollment is down by 67 percent, and provider costs have almost doubled. Approximately 200,000 jobs – 20 percent of the entire industry – have been lost nationwide. If immediate action isn’t taken, 4.5 million child care slots could be lost forever.
As someone with a hearing disability, without my time in speech therapy or two preschools in Aurora, I would have been behind in school and not at the University of Denver. I owe everything to the strong early learning support that gave me an opportunity to succeed. Others need that, too.
Child care gives kids the best start in life and empowers working parents to fully contribute to our economy. Child care is essential to our shared future – we must treat it as such.
Join me and Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) in urging the new Biden administration to not only offer direct financial support to child care providers to help them stay afloat today but to also work with Congress to pass legislation that promotes long-term financial investment in the child care industry.
— Daniel Cieraszynski, via [email protected]