Some exciting developments happened last week that we are thankful to share! Representative DeLauro, Representative Scott, and Senator Murray (along with other co-sponsors) have introduced a bill providing $50 billion in funding to stabilize the child care industry. National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) has endorsed this bill, which is a crucial part of the strategy to elevate the needs of the child care field in the ongoing COVID-19 relief legislation conversation. Key links are below; we encourage you to amplify this ask/bill on social and in your conversations with Federal policymakers around the needs of the child care sector.

Thank you so much!

Congressional press release
Short one pager summarizing the bill
Bill text
NYT article highlighting the need
Your Story Matters

We know that child care educators and employees are the backbone to our economy and that “America cannot go back to work without child care”! We can help SAVE our child care centers by telling members of Congress what we need and why we need it.  Sharing your COVID-19 story and how it is affecting your ability to do business is a way of getting their attention.  Reba Rochelle, a provider from Oklahoma shared her story with us and we forwarded it on to be shared with key members of Congress.   After reading  Reba’s story please think about sharing your story with us at

Reba’s Story
Reba Rochelle has been the owner/operator of a licensed and nationally accredited child care program in Lawton, Oklahoma for 24 years. Kindercastle, the name of her center, is licensed for 75 children. She has always been able to maintain a full enrollment because of her reputation as a high-quality early care and education center. Even though Reba’s daily attendance dropped to an average of 13 children per day due to the COVID-19 pandemic she decided to remain open for those families still needing care. However, she voluntarily closed her center for three weeks after learning that four of her customers, all nurses, had to be quarantined at the hospital where they worked. Unfortunately, two of the four tested positive for COVID-19. Prior to reopening she spent $4000 to have her center professionally cleaned and sanitized. Since reopening her daily attendance has continued to be extremely low with an average of 13 children in care. Because the majority of her families are no longer attending, her weekly revenue is not enough to cover her expenses. She has been able to keep going because of the help she has received from the CARES Act. Specifically, the PPP funds. Unfortunately, this money is running out because it was only provided for an 8-week period. To date Congress has not passed a bill that will continue to help Reba or other providers like her. The CARES Act also provided some additional, but minimal funding to child care providers through the Child Care Development Block Grant fund. Because the grant allows for a lot of flexibility each state has given different levels of support to their child care providers. Sadly, for children and licensed providers, Oklahoma has actually chosen to use some of their funding to pay a family member that is 18 years of age or older to keep a child at home for $25 a day. The only other requirement for this individual is they have to pass a state only background check versus the full background check that licensed child care center owners and employees must have that includes the following:
FBI Finger Printing
Sex Offender Registry Check from both State and National Registries or Repositories
State Based Child Abuse Registry Checks
State Based Criminal History Checks

This is occurring in Oklahoma even though federal law requires ALL child care providers to have a comprehensive background check that includes providers who are NOT required to be licensed but care for children receiving federal child care assistance. Because the State of OK is taking advantage of the increased flexibility of CCDBG funds granted by the cares act children may be in the care of a family member not best suited to do so. We all know that just because a child is in the care of a family member does not make it safe and healthy. Young children take a lot of patience and planned activities to keep them occupied. Relatives do not always have the ability or stamina to do this for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. We also know that many lower income homes currently have a food shortage. Children in high quality licensed care receive a nutritious breakfast, lunch, snacks, and in some cases dinner.

Other concerns that Reba and other Oklahoma providers have include the following:

Staff that were furloughed before the PPP funds were provided are now collecting more in unemployment then they would make if they returned to work.

In order to ensure social distancing throughout the day child care providers have to actually lower their operational capacity to keep children further apart. This also requires more qualified adults to be present to ensure that the minimal licensing standard of keeping children within sight and sound at all times is maintained. This increases the cost of doing business and child care has not been provided enough of an increase in subsidy payments to allow for this change. Additionally, parents that have to pay for their own care are not in a position to pay more due to the COVID-19 circumstances.

Cost have also increased to allow for additional cleaning and sanitizing throughout the day. While high quality child care providers have always been very attentive to keeping the spread of illness to a minimum because young children are still building their immune system, the COVID-19 pandemic has required them to triple their daily routines.

In closing, Reba and many other licensed centers that are still open in Oklahoma are barely hanging on. Many have already closed their doors never to open again. Reba continues to work 12 hours a day from open to close to serve her community, however, she will not be able to stay open much longer without a substantial amount of help from an additional stimulus bill. This additional bill must allot enough money for child care providers as well as ensure rules that restrict states from using federal money to pay for unlicensed care.

Please take a moment to call or email members of Congress to let them know the URGENCY IN PASSING THIS BILL THAT PROVIDES $50B TO CHILD CARE. We’ve made it easy to contact them. Go to our homepage and the links to your legislators are there. Advocating For Child Care Today will ensure that Child Care is here for many more tomorrows.