September 12, 2022


Where Do Private Providers of Licensed Early Child Care and Education Go From Here?

By Cindy Lehnhoff

Director of the National Child Care Association

As an industry we must decide whether or not to take this one lying down or to keep fighting for ourselves and the communities we serve.  We know without a doubt the temporary support of COVID-19 emergency funds will run out.  In fact, it is estimated that states will be facing a $48B funding cliff in 2024.  The reality is private licensed providers, who make up 93% of the child care infrastructure in the US, have worked long and hard for years to keep things going for working families.  Long before COVID-19 you have weathered many unfunded mandates to improve quality.   Then came the COVID-19 pandemic and child care’s financial fragility was finally fully revealed.  Isn’t it sad that it took a pandemic for our US Legislators to realize that child care is ESSENTIAL?  Thankfully, however, they did and they quickly reacted by providing historical amounts of funding to keep the licensed child care providers temporarily afloat. Unfortunately, it was a short-lived victory for child care as Congress recently decided it was more important to invest in hiring 87,000 new IRS agents then continue to invest in child care.  They did this in spite of the many well-known facts that clearly show the future of accessible and affordable child care is more uncertain than ever.  Those FACTS include:

  • The child care workforce is in crisis due to low wages, lack of benefits, and working conditions.
  • The most recent data says that only 76% of the child care workforce has returned following the pandemic compared to 103% of private sector jobs lost during the pandemic.
  • Many providers are not able to accept more children into their programs because they are unable to staff their classrooms with qualified child care professionals and educators.
  • Providers are forced to raise their rates to afford the cost of rising prices in labor and goods therefore making it even less affordable for working families.
  • Roughly 1 in 3 working parents in the US are using informal child care arrangements (relatives, friends, neighbors or alter their work schedules so one parent can be home) .
  • COST and ACCESSIBILITY for families are two of the top reasons why working parents have to count on informal versus formal child care arrangements.  This is especially true for parents with multiple children.
  • CCDBG is so underfunded that only 1 in 7 children who currently qualify for it actually have access to it.
  • 51% of ALL children ages 0-6 live in communities that are considered child care deserts (more children then licensed child care spaces available).
  • Licensed child care centers (8,889) and licensed homes (6,957) closed their doors forever between December 2019 and March 2022.
  • The low return on investment is very often a deterrent to individuals capable and interested in becoming owners of a child care center.  This occurs more often in rural and lower economic areas.
  • Approximately 2M women have dropped out of the work place between 2019 and 2021 many due to child care challenges.

As an industry we are recognized for RESILENCE as it pertains to hanging in there and doing the best we can with what we have.  Unfortunately, resilience doesn’t pay the bills.  If we want to continue serving families, we must become UNITED, RESILENT and DETERMINED ADVOCATES.  Being a member of the NCCA allows you to easily participate in advocating for YOURSELF and the FAMILIES YOU SERVE!  Stay tuned as the NCCA works alongside our national advocacy partners to determine upcoming ACTION STEPS in our ongoing efforts to get the federal investment needed to ensure that all working families have accessibility to affordable child care and NOT at the continued expense of those that provide it.

ACT NOW, child care can’t wait.

Contact your representative today to advocate for child care:




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For more detail surrounding the information in this article please reference the following sources:


Child Care Advocacy Update
November 1, 2021

Hello all!

Just keeping you informed. Quick overview for you on decisions being made for child care as we speak. 

Take care!

Cindy Lehnhoff

Director, The National Child Care Association


Let Your Voice Be Heard
October 28, 2021

We’re surveying child care providers everywhere to report on the state of our industry and need your help! Let your voice be heard in HiMama’s 6th annual Child Care Benchmark Report.

In this survey, you’ll be able to provide insight about:

  • What you’re doing to make your center stand out
  • How COVID-19 has affected your center
  • Your average occupancy rates
  • How you are retaining and hiring staff
    And much more!

To take our survey and get exclusive early access to the report, click here!

The Challenges of Providing Child Care
October 23, 2021

In July, NAEYC surveyed child care providers and educators nationwide about the challenges of providing and working in child care. Over 6000 providers and educators responded.

In summary, this is what the survey results were regarding the topic of STAFF and COMPENSATION:
– 81% of the respondents said it is the same or more difficult to recruit and retain qualified educators now than before the pandemic with fully half of them saying it is more difficult
– 78% of the respondents identified wages as the main recruitment challenge
– 81% of the respondents say that low wages are a key reason that educators are leaving the field
– 54% cited a lack of benefits
– 33% pointed to exhaustion and burnout
– Only 8% said regulations were a key challenge

Advocates, these are great facts to share with your Lead Agency, State Legislators, and even your Governor when asking for their help in SAVING the ESSENTIAL Business of Child Care so other essential businesses are able to employ the people they need to do business!
Click here to SPEAK OUT for CHILD CARE!

Important Info on ARP Stimulus Funds
October 13, 2021

Are you still waiting to receive your share of the ARP stimulus funds provided to child care?If you are still waiting, you are far from alone.  Unfortunately over half of the states have yet to provide any or most of these funds to their childcare providers.  As you may recall the American Rescue Plan that was passed in March of this year provided $39B to help childcare.  $15B of it was added to the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and the other $24B was set aside to help stabilize the child care infrastructure.  The Administration of Child and Family Services provided states the following information which encouraged them to use their additional CCDBG money for the following purposes:

  • Prioritize using the funds to raise subsidy payment rates
  • Increase child care workforce compensation
  • Take bold steps to support children’s development needs, choices for parents and increased access to assistance for families
In addition, the guidance encouraged:

– Supply-building activities, including care for infants and toddlers and care during non-traditional hours
– Setting payments based on the cost of quality, rather than traditional market rate survey
– Expanding the use of grants and contracts to support program stability and supply building
– Paying child care subsidies based on children’s enrollments rather than attendance

The additional $24B was designated for child care stabilization grants.  The goal of the grants is to provide financial relief to child care providers to help defray unexpected business costs associated with the pandemic and to help stabilize their operations so that they may continue to provide care.  Child care providers may use subgrants to cover a range of expenses such as personnel costs; rent or mortgage payments; insurance; facility maintenance and improvements; personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-related supplies, training and professional development related to health and safety practices; goods and services needed to resume providing care; mental health supports for children and early educators; and reimbursement of costs associated with the current public health emergency.  To date, only 20 states have posted grant applications for their providers. We know that many of you are trying to figure out how to get your Governor, Legislators, or Lead Agencies to move this process along so that you as providers can receive the money your federal legislators wanted you to have. 
Click here to for more info.

Lawmakers Need to Hear from You
September 24, 2021

Families are struggling to afford high-quality child care as the cost of care increases year after year. The Build Back Better plan would ensure working families can afford quality childcare and preschool.

Tell your representatives that now is the time to #SolveChildCare.

Important Info on Child Tax Credit Payments
September 13, 2021

We want to share with you the latest information as it relates to the Advance Child Tax Credit 2021. As you know, these payments are an expansion of the Child Tax Credit and allow parents to get up to fifty percent of their credit in advance by the 15th of each month, between July 15 through December 15, 2021. The remaining portion of the credit can be claimed when the parent files their tax return next filing season. This money can quickly add up to a significant amount and can help parents who have been struggling financially.
Click here to access the Child Tax Credit Update Portal.

Although the IRS has already issued advance payments to over 39 million households based on information provided on their 2020 tax returns, there may be some families missing out, because the IRS does not have the most current information available, such as mailing address, or financial account information to receive the convenience of direct deposit. As a result, this week’s message focuses on the new address feature on the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, which is available on Generally, updates entered into the portal can take up to seven calendar days to be reflected on an account. As a result, if a parent would like their advance payment mailed to their new address in time for the fourth installment (October 15 payment), then the information must be entered into the portal no later than October 4, 2021.

Click here to access the Child Tax Credit Update Portal.

Sadly, since the start of the pandemic there has been an increase in tax scams involving Economic Impact Payments, unemployment compensation, and now advance child tax payments.  Please be vigilant!

Click here for a video on how to avoid phishing scams!  
Thank you to Filomena Trujillo-Mealy, IRS Communication & Liaison, for this info.

Let your U.S. Legislators know that you want them to ACT NOW!
September 9, 2021

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

While Congress provided funding for childcare centers to help keep their doors open, this was not a long-term solution. The issues need to be fixed once and for all. We need to provide teachers a higher livable wage so that they can come to work and take care of our children. We need to build a better infrastructure to support the childcare industry now and for years to come. These children are our future!

CLICK HERE to let your U.S. Legislators know that you want them to ACT NOW!

Calling on ALL Child Care Advocates to ACT NOW!
September 2, 2021

Child Care is infrastructure, connecting work and jobs. Child care is what makes all other work possible! Yet did you know that Child Care and Early Education work is one of the lowest-paid professions in the U.S.?
We are losing our workforce because they cannot live on poverty wages.

The time to ADVOCATE for robust investment in child care is NOW.
Click here to ACT NOW.

The lack of affordable high-quality child care costs about $57B a year in lost productivity, wages, and our economy. We need to create a child care system that meets the needs of children, families, communities, and child care providers.

We are calling on all stakeholders to SPEAK OUT for HIGH QUALITY, AFFORDABLE, and ACCESSIBLE Child Care and Early Education. It is as simple as clicking here to let your U.S. Legislators know that you want them to ACT NOW!

Click here to SPEAK OUT for HIGH QUALITY, AFFORDABLE, and ACCESSIBLE Child Care and Early Education!

August 25, 2021

As you are well aware there are many different proposals coming from the White House and Congress this summer that will provide the largest ever investment in America’s child care system. For the first time ever we have the attention of our federal lawmakers. Due to Covid-19 they now know that saving child care and early education for the long term is ESSENTIAL to children, families, employers, and our economy. They also know that high-quality care and education is not accessible and affordable for all. Now that we have their attention every ESSENTIAL child care professional receiving this newsletter has the opportunity and most of all the responsibility of being a VOICE for children, families, and yourself. I hope by sharing this information with you that has been provided to us by one of our advocacy partners, Child Care Aware of America, we can count on everyone letting their federal legislators know what you need to be a high-quality and sustainable early care and education business and educator. REMEMBER YOU ARE ESSENTIAL and YOUR INPUT REGARDING THIS MATTER IS ESSENTIAL!
This is a serious call to action. Please take the time to see what is on the table and contact your members of Congress.
Cindy Lehnhoff
Director of the NCCA
Click here to ACT NOW.

Many policy proposals that are aimed at improving child care have already come out of Congress and the White House this year. Policymakers at the federal level increasingly recognize the urgent need for long-term, sustainable investment in America’s child care system. CCAoA’s new two-part blog series breaks down what’s included:
Child Care Proposals from Congress
Child Care in Proposals from the White House

As Congress and the White House continue to negotiate over which policies will ultimately be included in infrastructure and budget bills this summer, make sure you know what has been proposed already with our blogs. Once you have, contact your Members of Congress and tell them to support sustainable, long-term federal investment in child care that makes high-quality, affordable care a reality for families.

Thank you to Child Care Aware for this info.

August 23, 2021

Congress is moving forward with a reconciliation bill that could include the long-term, sustainable investments in child care that parents and providers are desperate for. Your Members of Congress need to hear from you about why these investments are vital to creating a more equitable, affordable, and accessible child care system in America.
Speak up for child care now!

Thank you for your continued advocacy,

Anne Hedgepeth
Senior Director of Federal and State Government Affairs
Child Care Aware® of America

Cindy Lehnhoff
Director of the NCCA

July 31, 2021

Lawmakers in D.C. are working out the details of the next federal budget, which could be transformative for child care. But these critical investments aren’t promised and we have to fight to ensure that child care isn’t sacrificed during these budget negotiations. We need a game-changing investment in child care, and we need it now. Why? The pandemic has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that child care is the backbone of our economy. We can’t go back to the broken pre-pandemic status quo. We must ensure that: Families can afford child care (adding up to no more than 7% of their income)Families can actually FIND child care. Child care workers earn a living wage
Tell your elected officials: Fund child care now!

Funding child care now means that women and families will have a chance at a real recovery. Now is the time for Congress to address America’s child care crisis with a significant investment in our early education system to ensure every family can access the care options that work for them. This is a crucial moment for the future of families and child care providers. Your representatives need to hear from you immediately.

Tell Congress: we need child care funding, and we need it now.

Melissa Boteach
Vice President for Income Security and Child Care/Early Learning
National Women’s Law Center


New Info On the Child Care Tax Credit
July 12, 2021

New webinar: New Round of Gov. Funds for ECE
July 7, 2021

Find out everything you need to know about the newest round of government funds and how to effectively use your voice to bring change.

Join us, Tuesday, July 13th at 2:30 PM EST for a discussion with CEO and Founder of InspireCare 360, Tony D’Agostino, ECE expert, our National Child Care Association Director, Cindy Lehnoff, and financial expert, John Rizzo.

In this webinar you will learn…

  • What new government funds are being issued.
  • What these new funds mean for your business.
  • How to effectively use your voice to advocate for more government funds.
  • How to be a part of the decision making process.



NAEYC Child Care Survey 
June 23, 2021

Directors, Educators, and Owners PLEASE take a few moments and fill out the latest NAEYC Child Care Survey. Your responses can make a big difference in helping our decision makers (State and Federal Legislators, Governors, and State Agencies) understand the challenges that child care businesses and educators face as they provide a combination of early care and education to working parents. 

The SURVEY* will close at midnight ET on Wednesday, June 30th. 
*Completed surveys will be entered into a lottery to win a $50 gift card.


The Federal Office of Child Care Releases Guidance for States on CCDBG Funds ($15B) in the American Rescue Plan (ARP)

Lead Agencies in each State are strongly encouraged to prioritize these specific expenditures with the ARP/CCDBG funds:

  • Increasing Provider Payments
  • Improving Payment Policies
  • Increasing Wages for Early Educators and Family Child Care Providers
  • Building the Supply of Child Care for Underserved Populations

For more information on the guidance provided please click HERE.

For more on the dollar amount your State is receiving from the ARP stimulus package, please click here.


More COVID Relief Coming Your Way!
Published 1/25/2021

Dear Members:

As you know, 2021 has begun with the highest increase in Covid-19 cases throughout the United States. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to make doing business as high-quality child care providers and educators more difficult than ever before. As essential businesses, we have continued to keep the doors safely open in order to serve individuals that must go to work.

Fortunately, at the end of December, Congress finally passed a long awaited second COVID Relief Package which includes $10 billion additional dollars allocated to the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG).  This is on top of the FY2021 budgeted amount of $5.9 billion for the CCDBG and more than double of what the CARES Act provided previously ($3 billion).

Similar to the CARES Act these funds can be used to:

  • Reduce family copays and tuition.
  • Cover COVID related expenses for child care providers whether or not they are serving subsidy children.
  • Cover the cost of staff salaries.
  • Care for children of essential workers regardless of income.
  • Cover the cost of reopening or operating a center at reduced capacity and more.

It is important to note that the Lead Child Care Agency in your State and your Governor have 60 days from the passage of the bill to report their intentions for using the CCDBG emergency funds.  It would be prudent for all of you receiving this information to contact your Lead Agency and your Governor’s office either by phone or email to provide feedback on what you need to keep your center viable. They will then have until October 31st, 2022 to report how they spent it.

Here you will find additional detail regarding how this money can be used and how much each state is expected to receive of the $10 billion.

It should also be noted that the Biden Administration has already proposed another $40 billion in emergency funds to be provided to child care in another stimulus bill. All the more reason to be vocal with your Governor, State Legislators, and your Lead Agency on what is needed by providers and educators to keep high quality available and affordable NOW and BEYOND. If they do not hear from enough of you, they will make the decision for you. Share this information with parents and business leaders so they know that their voice can also help child care get what is needed to be open and safe during this time. Call or email us if you need help with creating a message that you are comfortable with delivering.

Keep the faith and hang in there! YOU are and have always been the most essential of the essential!


Cindy Lehnhoff
Your NCCA Director


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