On Thursday, September 24, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced, Rebuilding a Better Child Care Infrastructure Act, a bill to make child care more affordable and accessible for families, as well as helping to rebuild a more robust child care system. The COVID-19 pandemic has further proved the need for a stronger, affordable, and good quality child care system for families across the country. The goal of the bill is to address the child care gap by providing new, long-term funding so that states, tribes, and territories have the resources they need to reconstruct a child care infrastructure that better serves all families.

The Rebuilding a Better Child Care Infrastructure Act would expand mandatory child care funding by appropriating $3 billion to the Child Care Entitlement to States (CCES) for fiscal years 2021-2025, which doubles the current yearly amount of funding. It would also appropriate $10 billion in additional funding to the CCES for FY 2021 to address child care needs exacerbated by COVID-19. Lastly, it would provide grants to improve child care supply, quality, and affordability. $15 billion in funding to the CCES for FY 2022 would be appropriated to improve the child care supply, quality, and affordability in areas where the options of child care are slim to none. A more in-depth summary and breakdown of funding for the bill can be found here.

“CWLA is pleased to support Senators Wyden, Casey and Brown’s Rebuilding a Better Child Care Infrastructure Act. The impact of the pandemic has demonstrated that child care is vital to our economy and to children and families,” stated Christine James-Brown, President and CEO, CWLA. “We have seen the impact of the lack of child care on essential and frontline workers and on the thousands of families trying to find child care in communities that were already struggling to maintain the family-strengthening services that became even more essential during the pandemic. It is clear we need to step up our efforts to support and then increase child care across this country.”

This bill has been endorsed by CWLA, as well as the National Women’s Law Center, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Child Care Aware of America, Children’s Defense Fund, First Focus Campaign for Children, ZERO TO THREE, Save the Children Action Network and Family Forward. CWLA has seen the impact of the pandemic on communities already struggling to maintain quality and accessible child care and the lack of child care for essential and frontline workers. The Rebuilding a Better Child Care Infrastructure Act would help families during the current crisis and in the coming years as child care continues to be a much-needed service for working families across the country.