ACTIVISM

The Time to Save and FUND Child Care is NOW — 3 Things You Can Do

As you will read, even before the cover pandemic occurred, child care was in crisis. The time to save and FUND child care is NOW.

In late January, I moderated a conversation with the Elliot Haspel, the author of Crawling Behind: America’s Child Care Crisis and How to Fix It (You can check out the conversation below:) 

The date of the conversation was January 28th, about a month before COVID-19 started ravaging our country.

The pandemic has brought the ugly truth out front and center: the childcare industry shouldn’t be treated as other industries, but rather, as Elliot Haspel states in his book, as a common good. The bottom line is, in order to work, ALL parents need access to child care. The fact that as a society we make parents scramble and figure it out on their own for the first 4/5 years of their child’s life is ludicrous, and not sustainable in the long run.

COVID has shown us, that child care is ESSENTIAL to allowing parents to work. Childcare work is what makes all the other work possible.

Unfortunately, lawmakers aren’t doing enough. Since the pandemic started, NO money has been earmarked specifically for child care, the industry has yet to receive a bailout, even though organizations, advocates and even a group of senators have been sounding the alarm, warning that the entire child care industry could collapse.

fund child care

My daughter when she started attending her daycare at 20 months. Our center announced in May 2020 that they were closing their doors forever. 

 CONGRESS MUST ACT! 

In a letter dated April 28th, 28 senators wrote to McConnell saying “We have only two options as a country: we can either do what is needed to stabilize the childcare system, or we can watch childcare providers collapse, one by one in our communities, leaving children, families, and childcare workers with no system to return to and hamstringing our economic recovery,” the senators wrote.

In the CARES Act, the bill passed in March, the childcare industry received a measly $3.5 billion, far lower than what is actually needed to prop up and help the childcare industry continue.

We must do more. If we don’t, parents won’t be able to go back to work, and the ones that will suffer most will be women, who will be pushed out of the workforce when child care is not available, as we know the burden of child care falls on women.

SAVE AND FUND CHILD CARE: THE CHILD CARE IS ESSENTIAL ACT 

The good news is that, at the time of me writing this (or should I say, at the time of me getting around to finally publishing this, lol) the House of Representatives has already passed the Child Care is Essential Act which would invest $50B in child care so that child care providers don’t close their doors. 

 

The bill, which was introduced by Senators Murray (D-WA), Smith (D-MN), Warren (D-MA), Casey (D-PA) & Gillibrand (D-NY), is now in the Senate, where senators are discussing how much money is TOO MUCH for child care. Last I head, Republicans are saying their number is $15 BILLION, but research has shown that it should be at least $50 BILLION.  

The Child Care is Essential Act would provide grants for providers to use for:

  • Personnel costs, including premium pay, employee benefits, and employee salaries.
  • Sanitization and cleaning, personal protective equipment, and other necessary equipment.
  • Training and professional development related to health and safety practices.
  • Fixed costs, including mortgage obligations, rent, utilities, and insurance.
  • Mental health supports for children and employees.
  • Modifications to child care services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Other goods and services necessary to maintain or resume operation of the child care program, or to maintain the viability of the child care provider.

Parents are suffering everywhere, we are exhausted. We are mentally drained. For some of us, the pandemic has meant losing our jobs, our livelihoods, being food or housing insecure. 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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We are inspired by @doloreshuerta today and say “Organize!” This week is a critical week to #SaveChildcare! Lawmakers in Washington are discussing the #ChildcareIsEssential Act, which would give $50B federal relief to help the #childcare sector… as a mom who lost her child care when her provider closed their doors forever due to #Covid19, I know firsthand how devastating this is… I have no idea what we are going to do about #childcare… but in the meantime… we are raising our voices and sounding the alarm! Lots of action around #childcare happening this week! Make sure to sign a petition, share your story and call your lawmakers and ask them to support relief for the childcare industry, which will collapse if it doesn’t get help. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. #SaveChildcare! #movement4childcare

A post shared by Parenting and Politics (@parentingandpolitics) on

For those of us who are lucky and have been able to continue working (which is my case) we simply don’t know how we are going to continue working under these conditions… personally, my daycare closed. I have no idea what is going to happen come September. It’s heartbreaking to see so many small businesses, women-owned businesses, immigrant-led businesses, close in our communities. Really, helping the child care industry is not only the moral thing to do (hello? HELPING our babies, helping our families!) but it is also makes economic sense. 

We can bail out the airline industries all we want, but if parents can’t work to put food on the table, what makes anyone think that we are going to be able to travel any time soon? (not to mention, traveling isn’t safe right now considering the COVID cases around the country, though that is for a different post). If parents don’t have a place to leave their children that is safe, and provides high quality early education, what does that mean for the economy? Millions of dollars — tax revenue– lost. Millions of parents who no longer have any income to buy necessities, or pay for rent, or pay for “extras.” The economy isn’t going to get better if we don’t help working families. PERIOD

3 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP SAVE AND FUND CHILD CARE 

Parents are exhausted, and Farhan Manjoo at the NYTimes says that if his kids wouldn’t harass him for lunch, he would tell us that maybe the parental stress we are all in would “forge a new parental voting bloc.” (Imagine the power!) He wonders if maybe now, universal child care will be regarded not as a indulgence, but as a necessity.

Here are five things you can do to help push the Child Care is Essential Act through the finish line, with enough money to help support child care providers and parents: 

 

  1.  Call your senators and ask them to support the Child Care is Essential Act.  (ZERO TO THREE has a wonderful script you use here).  save and fund childcare now
  2. Share your story! Why is is your child care center important to you? What would happen if you lose your child care? Did your child care center close? Record your story of why you need child care, how child care helps your family, why you need Congress to invest in child care. Record it and upload on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (whichever is your preferred social media platform!) and tag your senators. 
  3. Sign the petition to save and fund child care! ParentsTogether Action has this petition asking Congress to invest in child care Sign and share here. Share itwith your friends, tweet it, share it with your child care providers and all over social media. You can share this bit.ly: bit.ly/petitionsavechildcare 

     

So, don’t forget:

 ORGANIZE! SHARE STORIES! CALL YOUR LAWMAKERS! We can do this parents! 

Diana Limongi
Diana a mom, activist, nonprofit professional, podcaster and writer from Queens, NY. She writes about motherhood, activism, raising my multilingual kids, culture and travel. She and her multicultural family live in Queens, NY.

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