On Wednesday March 2nd, 2022 the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis held a hearing that highlighted “COVID Child Care Challenges: Supporting Families and Caregivers”.
Chairmen Clyburn (D-SC) opening remarks noted that “46% of childcare providers reported in summer 2021 they were likely to close without government relief packages”. He went on to state that the $39 billion investments through the American Rescue Plan had brought relief to childcare workers, who are predominantly women and minority members, whose working wages pre-pandemic salaries were below state minimum wages. He furthered stated that in a report for the Census Bureau, the American Rescue Plan impacted 5-7 million households through the Child Tax Credit which was instrumental in lowering the cost of childcare for parents.
Representative Waters (D-CA) questioned witnesses on the economic impact of child care workers and early educators. Witness Dr. Austin, Executive Director at the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment University of California, stated the pandemic caused childcare workers to face food insecurity, housing insecurity, and financial insecurity, which is causing many to close or seek alternate employment.
Chairmen Clyburn (D-SC) began his questions surrounding stabilization grants and their impact during the pandemic. Dr. Fraga, Chief Executive Officer for Child Care Aware of America, stated that stabilization grants promote equity, efficiency, and transparency for states that impacts populations and programs that offer non-traditional hours and accommodations.
Noting how the pandemic has impacted gender equity and economic opportunity, Representative Maloney (D-NY) asked witnesses how the lack of affordable and available child care has impacted the ability for women to work and further careers. Witness Forbes, Early Childhood Educator and Parent, stated that educators are having to balance when they can go to work and when they have to take care of children, which echoed concerns of the lack of child care and the workforce, specifically for women. Witness Dr. Stevenson, Professor of Public Policy, Professor of Economics for the University of Michigan, offered testimony to the impacts of the pandemic as it relates to labor markets.
CWLA is committed to ensuring children and parents have access to child care and schooling. The pandemic has had unprecedented impacts on the child care workforce, creating ripple effects for working families. Advocates, including CWLA, urge Congress to support the child care provisions in Build Back Better, continue funds for relief packages, and to extend the Child Tax Credit.