Every morning for the last two weeks I’ve woken up wondering what impact this COVID-19 crisis will have on my toddler’s life along with our entire country. My partner and I are juggling our work schedules (like so many parents and caregivers!) the best we can as we try to give her some semblance of normalcy. But more than ever, I'm grateful for the loving care my child normally receives while we work.
That’s why it pains me to tell you that, as a nation, we are on the verge of losing more than half (yes you read that right - MORE THAN HALF) of our child care programs IF there isn’t significant public investment from Congress and support soon.
→ SIGN NOW to tell Congress to include child care funding in the next relief package to ensure the stability of our child care system so parents and caregivers have child care to return to when this crisis is over!
The situation is critical. As child care centers close to protect children and the communities they serve from further spread of the COVID-19 virus, families across the nation are at risk of permanently losing the child care that is critical to ensuring their youngest children have the enriching care they need to thrive while parents and caregivers work.
We’ve been hearing from moms daily that child care is making an already giant crisis so much worse. Frontline healthcare workers like Maya in California who wrote to us to say, “I am a single mom, and I am an RN. So, with this pandemic, it has put me in desperation for childcare, as my daughter's daycare is closed, but I still have bills. Also, they're rationing our respiratory masks at work. Which is scary.”
We’re hearing too from early educators who are losing much needed income as they care for their own families, like Carrie in Wisconsin who shared: “I am losing hours at work due to the COVID-19. I work in child care. I am a mother of 7 kids. I'm losing $250 every 2 weeks” and Krista in Ohio who shared “I am a Montessori teacher in a local private daycare so am out of work and with no benefits or pay now. HELP!”
And moms like Rebecca in North Carolina paying for child care despite loss of income because they're worried they’ll lose their spot, “Unfortunately, I am a contracted worker...however, working from home is not much of an option...Rent is still due on the 1st. We will eventually need groceries again. I have no one to provide child care. I have to continue to pay day care..even though we are not there to continue to hold my sons spot. Neither mine nor my husband's job offers benefits. I’m not sure what to do at this point.”
These families are struggling (like so many in this moment), but child care doesn’t need to be part of this crisis anymore. Congress has the power to stabilize the child care system before things get worse, but they need to hear from YOU!
Families are struggling now and will continue to struggle even after this crisis passes if we don’t act now. Parents and caregivers need protections like paid sick days and paid family and medical leave for all child care needs and prevent job loss. While the 3.5 billion to CCDBG and the small business loans included in the CARE Act will start to help alleviate this crisis, families also need support through this child care crisis and child care is a $99 billion dollar industry that, even during a strong economy, operates on very thin margins.
The size and scope of the impact of this public health crisis on the child care sector is profound and growing. In the next relief package, we are urging Congress to to, at a minimum, make a $50 billion dollar investment in our child care system, which would:
- Eliminate copayments or tuition and fees to “save spots” for families during this crisis and ensure that providers are still paid the full amount for that enrolled slot.
- Pay child care providers to cover their ongoing operating costs when they are closed so their financial security – and the security of educators they employ – is not threatened.
- Provide higher levels of compensation – hazard pay – for child care providers and educators serving children of frontline workers or operating for longer hours.
- Purchase materials for providers that cannot afford or even find supplies on their own (especially sanitation supplies like hand sanitizer and gloves)
- Provide training and medical support for child care providers on health and safety practices in response to the virus, available in all relevant languages.
It’s more important than ever that we speak up. Too often, people think of childcare as a “personal issue” - as in our own problem to solve.
But this crisis has shown more clearly than ever what we already knew, that we cannot continue to expect families and providers to bear the responsibility of child care on their shoulders alone. If people can’t get back to work after this crisis is over, it will hurt us all and negatively impact the ability for our communities to bounce back.
We know that a lot of people in your network are dealing with this same stressful struggle, so after you sign our letter, forward this email to your friends and family and make sure to post our action link to Facebook. The more people that take action and speak out, the higher the profile this issue will get--there is so much information coming through the airwaves and up to Congress that we need to break through.
It’s time for Congress to take action on child care and, together, we can raise our voices to make sure they do.
Our elected officials are inundated with information right now, but we need them to really sit up and pay attention to our child care needs before it is too late. One way to do that is for you to share your child care story/situation with them directly. Can you tweet your Members of Congress and share your child care story (even if it’s just a short sentence)? You can find their twitter handles here and use #FundChildCare so we can find you on Twitter. (You can also tag us at @MomsRising).