Federal funding for child care is urgently needed and broadly supported by voters
This week, the First Five Years Fund (FFYF) and the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a survey of voters on relief funding for child care that shows that voters want Congress to prioritize emergency funding for child care in the next COVID-19 recovery package. This support is broad and bipartisan.
Key findings from the poll include:
- More than 8 in 10 voters support relief funding for child care, with overwhelming support across partisan lines, generations, and genders, including Republicans (77 percent support, 84 percent of Republican parents support), Independents (81 percent), Democrats (97 percent), voters 65 and older (83 percent), suburban women (86 percent), and Black (97 percent) and Latinx (93 percent) voters.
- Nearly 9 in 10 voters want child care providers at the front of the line for Congressional relief, prioritizing funding the child care industry above funding for hotels, cruise lines, and real estate developers.
Survey respondents also overwhelmingly recognize that funding for child care provides a range of invaluable benefits for our communities, including the ability of parents with young children to work and earn a living, women’s ability to work, the well-being of young children whose parents work, and the opportunity for our economy to recover.
Child care providers, who already survived on incredibly thin margins, continue to operate with reduced enrollment, higher operating costs, and significant uncertainty due to the pandemic. A July survey of child care providers from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) details the continued crisis facing the industry:
- 40 percent of respondents (and half of minority-owned businesses) are certain that they will permanently close without additional public assistance.
- 70 percent of providers are incurring substantial additional costs to pay staff, purchase cleaning supplies and find personal protective equipment (PPE).
- 73 percent of programs reported that they have or will have to engage in layoffs, furloughs or pay cuts to survive the pandemic.
- Only 18 percent of respondents reported that they expect to survive longer than a year without substantial investment in the sector.
Action is urgently needed at the federal level to make sure that funding for child care is included in the next COVID-19 recovery package. Without this investment, we are at risk of losing over half of our nation’s licensed child care capacity. Colorado would lose 55 percent of its child care capacity, meaning there would be more than six children per available slot of licensed child care in the state. Widespread child care closures would have a disastrous impact on our economy, communities and families.