Health Policy Editorial – Funding Child Care During The Covid-19 Pandemic

Written by Leila Habayeb

There have been numerous OP-ED’s written and published in support of the additional funding ($50B) desperately needed by child care providers to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. One that NCCA received recently really hit home and we would like to share it with all of you.

It was written by Leila Habayeb, a nursing student at the University of Pennsylvania. We hope you will read it, act upon it, and share it on behalf of #SAVECHILDCARE. 


Raise your kids or provide for them. Choose one.

How do you make the decision between caring for your children and bringing home a paycheck? The answer? You should not have to. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic though, parents are being forced to make this impossible decision.

Parents must provide for their families and that cannot come at the cost of their children’s safety or development. Child care centers must re-open and they must do so in a way that makes everyone feel protected.

The Child Care is Essential Act is working to do exactly that. This bill would provide $50 billion in grants to child care providers that are currently open and/or temporarily closed due to Covid-19. The grants would help support increased costs associated with providing child care safely during the pandemic.

We must support The Child Care is Essential Act. Supporting this bill means supporting women employment.

Women have been disproportionately impacted by the loss of jobs as a result of Covid-19. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, today women have a higher unemployment rate than men. More specifically, Hispanic and Black women have higher unemployment rates than White women. Women have taken on more of the childcare responsibilities during this pandemic, so supporting safe places where mothers can drop off their children for care, means more of them can get back into the workforce.

We must support The Child Care is Essential Act. Supporting this bill means saving the child care industry.

Child care centers must re-open soon or the entire industry is at risk of collapse. They need proper funding to re-open their services while guaranteeing safety and quality measures. Centers are not able survive if they can’t accept students. They need help to ensure that staff feel safe going to work. They need support to create an environment where families know they are not putting their children at risk.

We must support The Child Care is Essential Act. Supporting this bill means supporting the economy.

Funding safe re-opening of child care programs allows parents to return to work and seek out jobs that do not require them to stay home. New York Democrat Nita Lowey explains that, “every single industry counts on child care. In order to save our economy, we need to save child care.”

Critics of the bill argue that $50 billion is too costly during these times, especially on an industry that usually gets less than that amount in support, in a whole year. Critics of the bill argue that the process of applying for these funds is too complicated. They say people would spend more time filling out the application than actually providing child care. In reality – without this funding, there may be no time spent on providing child care at all, and those in need of this funding are willing to put in all the effort necessary.

We all have a responsibility to take action, and it is so simple.

Take action by bringing attention to this bill. Take action by reaching out to your Representatives and Senators to support it. This link through the “National Women’s Law Center” and this link through “A Better Balance”provide drafted messages to state legislators in a call for action in support of this bill. All you have to do is click on the hyperlink above, input your address, and a message will be directed to the appropriate recipients based on the state and county you live in.

Let it be known that The Child Care is Essential Act must go through. Our families and our livelihoods depend on it.