Rep. Cisneros urges Congressional leadership to invest in child care relief

Representative Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39) joined 83 of his House colleagues calling for a $100 billion investment to aid in the relief, recovery, and revitalization of the child care sector in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy, the House members outline a proposal providing $50 billion in the form of short-term stabilization funding and an additional $50 billion in long-term recovery funding to support students, families, and providers. To read the letter, click here.

“Right now, our essential workers and their families depend on child care as they continue to serve our communities. Yet our child care sector has been hit hard by the pandemic, causing many providers to shut down their businesses and lay off workers,” said Rep. Cisneros. “When our country opens back up and parents return to work, we will need this critical service even more. Congress must provide the necessary relief and investment in our child care sector and help families and businesses across the country.”

According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, 60 percent of licensed child care providers have already closed due to the pandemic, and a survey from the National Association for the Education of Young Children shows that only 11% of our nation’s child care providers will survive without government support. An immediate $50 billion short term investment would be used to sustain the viability of providers that have been forced to close due to COVID-19 and fund emergency care for the 6 million children of essential workers.

The lawmakers’ $50 billion long term investment would expand current funding and tax credits to support families and students while also creating new grant programs for child care infrastructure and workforce development.

Under their proposal, the financial burden associated with child care would be significantly reduced for families by:

  • Requiring employers to extend the grace period to use a Dependent Care Assistance Plan;
  • Enhancing and making the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit refundable;
  • Providing an increase in mandatory federal child care funding through the Child Care Entitlement to States and temporally waiving the state match for that increase so more families can access subsidized child care;
  • Reauthorizing the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program at $200 million annually to provide more child care support to student parents;
  • Creating competitive infrastructure grants to support both the renovation and new construction of child care facilities, with priority given to those areas of the country that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

In addition to prioritizing facilities, the House members are requesting an investment in the higher education of our nation’s early childhood educators by offering $20 million per year for a student loan repayment program.

Finally, the House members are calling for $3.8 billion in renovation, maintenance, and repair funding for Head Start Centers; $2.3 billion to provide updated technological services for in-home early learning school readiness programs; and $989 million to cover the cost of providing an additional hour of mental health consultation for each child.

This article was released by the Office of Representative Gil Cisneros.