Child Care is Essential Act

Rep. DeLauro, Rep. Scott, and Sen. Murray (along with other cosponsors) have introduced a bill providing $50 billion in funding to stabilize the child care industry. This bill is a crucial part of the strategy to elevate the needs of the child care field in the ongoing COVID-19 relief legislation conversation.

We know that child care providers are absolutely essential to this nation and have been among the hardest hit for the COVID-19 pandemic. About half of providers have stayed open throughout this crisis to serve children of other essential workers so that those workers can serve their communities. Even so, with the reduction in enrollment and the consequential drop in revenue, child care providers are struggling. Some providers are even facing closure. According to analysis from the Center for American Progress, the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to a permanent loss of nearly 4.5 million child care slots, leaving millions of families without the child care they need to return to work. And Americans are indeed returning to work more and more as the days go on. So how can we ensure they will have access to necessary and essential child care?

The Child Care Is Essential Act would provide grant funding to child care providers to stabilize the child care sector and support providers to safely reopen and operate. Administered through the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) lead agency of each state, tribe or territory, grants would be available to licensed, regulated, or registered child care providers that are currently open or temporarily closed due to COVID-19, regardless of whether they had previously received funding through CCDBG. Grant awards would be determined by providers’ pre-COVID-19 operating costs and adjusted to reflect the additional cost of providing care due to the pandemic. Grants would be equitably distributed to eligible child care centers, home-based child care providers, and family child care homes.

Initial cost estimates suggest that modifications necessary to respond to COVID-19 may increase providers’ costs by as much as 30 percent. The $50 billion in funding will help providers not only open but purchase
necessary supplies, reduce group sizes and adjust staffing to lower the risk of infection, and modify classroom space and materials.

We need you to act to pass this bill! Have you called or emailed your members of Congress to let them know the urgency in passing a bill that provides $50 billion to childcare? Find out more about contacting your representations at