New Jersey Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) is requesting federal stabilization funding to help New Jersey child care centers keep their doors open and costs down for families, after federal funding expired earlier this year.
Sherrill co-led a letter to House leadership urging swift action, which brought along more than 150 members of the House.
“The child care stabilization relief funds provided a much-needed lifeline to the child care industry, but it is crucial that, at minimum, we sustain that level of investment to ensure the industry’s survival and prevent a new emergency. Our providers, workers, children, and families need your help. We urge you to utilize every possible tool to provide a robust investment to address the growing child care crisis,” the members wrote.
A one year extension of this funding, as requested in President Biden’s supplemental request, would bring back more than $300 million in federal tax dollars to New Jersey to keep centers open and costs down for families.
Experts estimate that without federal action, child care centers across the country could be forced to close their doors. In New Jersey, more than 1,000 child care centers are expected to close and more than 100,000 children could lose their child care. Parents without affordable child care options will also shoulder the consequences, forced to reduce work hours or drop out of the workforce entirely. A loss of this federal funding would result in $453 million less in employer productivity and Garden State families will lose nearly $400 million in earnings.
Before the funding expired, she introduced the Child Care Stabilization Act, which will extend critical federal grants to child care facilities in New Jersey and across the country. This legislation was endorsed by child care advocates and business groups alike.
You can read the letter here and below.
Dear Speaker Johnson, Leader Jeffries, Chairwoman Granger, and Ranking Member DeLauro:
We write today to urge you to include robust funding for child care in any supplemental funding package considered by the Appropriations Committee. Child care is unaffordable and hard to find for working families, and child care providers across the country are struggling to stay afloat. We are extremely concerned that this crisis will continue to worsen following the expiration of the Child Care Stabilization Grants provided under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This vital funding sustained an estimated 220,000 child care providers, saved an estimated 9.6 million child care slots, and maintained more than 1 million child care jobs. President Biden acknowledged this urgent issue by requesting significant funding for child care in his domestic supplemental appropriations request to Congress.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress took important steps to protect the child care industry from collapse by delivering historic funding in the economic relief packages passed. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) with $3.5 billion, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act provided $10 billion in dedicated relief, and ARPA provided $15 billion for CCDBG and $24 billion for the stabilization grants. On September 30, 2023, the majority of this vital funding expired.
Through continued bipartisan support, the FY 2023 appropriations process yielded a total of $8 billion for CCDBG. This is a 30 percent increase from fiscal year 2022 funding. However, we understand that you are limited on discretionary spending with the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act in June. So, it is essential that as supplemental funding to meet emergency needs is considered, Congress take action to address the child care crisis. We have an urgent need to further stabilize an industry that has been long underfunded, and Congress must provide robust funding for this sector through a supplemental package.
The child care stabilization relief funds provided a much-needed lifeline to the child care industry, but it is crucial that, at minimum, we sustain that level of investment to ensure the industry’s survival and prevent a new emergency. Our providers, workers, children, and families need your help. We urge you to utilize every possible tool to provide a robust investment to address the growing child care crisis. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.