Law Enforcement, Business Leaders, and Retired Military Generals call on Congress for New Federal Child Care Dollars
Authored By: M. Jamie Patton, Union County Sheriff, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Ohio
Carol Reeves, Reeves Team Remax Achievers, ReadyNation, Ohio
Brigadier General Charles O. Dillard (Ret.), Mission: Readiness Ohio
The widespread and multifaceted ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic have touched nearly every aspect of our lives. One significant, albeit underreported effect of the pandemic has been the damage it has dealt to the child care sector. This damage is particularly important because the child care sector will be a vital part of our state’s recovery, now and in the near future.
First, there are the long-term impacts of high-quality child care programs. These child care programs are invaluable in providing not only a safe place for infants- and- toddler care, but also critical brain stimulation to help ensure they meet their developmental milestones.
Research has shown that quality early childhood development can play a crucial role in helping will allow a child to meet educational milestones, moving forward giving more children a fair opportunity to succeed in school and in life.
There are also the more immediate benefits provided by these programs—benefits that will directly impact our economic recovery from the pandemic. These benefits include giving working parents the peace-of-mind necessary to return to their jobs, secure in the knowledge that their children are in safe, caring, supportive, and educational environments.
Law enforcement leaders, business leaders and retired military leaders who are members of the Council for a Strong America ask for members of Congress to support the Child Care and Development Block Grant in COVID relief appropriations., In doing so, we also ask that Congress and establishing a child care stabilization fund, which should include direct grants to both center-based and home-based child care providers. These funds will help boost current workforce productivity, bolster economic growth, and help prepare our future workforce for the demands of an increasingly competitive global market.
The child care sector urgently needs this support. Mandated closings during the spring were costly to these small business owners, forcing many to close and not re-open permanently. Capacity restrictions and the expenses associated with complying with new health and safety regulations have put even more strain on the system. With fewer providers and less capacity, many mothers have opted to remain home and not return to the workforce themselves. This hurts employers even further.
A 2019 ReadyNation study, Want to Grow the Economy? Fix the Child Care Crisis, found an annual economic cost of $57 billion in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue as a result of the infant-and-toddler child care crisis. Furthermore, 86 percent of primary caregivers of infants and toddlers reported that problems with child care hurt their efforts or time commitment at work—before the pandemic.
Moreover, research shows that high-quality early childhood programs, especially for disadvantaged children, can promote greater academic achievement and higher future earning potential. This makes the long-term investment returns in early childhood even more valuable.
Our nation’s economic recovery depends on swift, bipartisan action from Congress this month. More must be done to take care of our nation’s youngest generation, support our small business child care providers, and allow parents to focus on their jobs and careers. Please prioritize significant additional funding to help stabilize the child care industry in the next emergency funding package. We call on Congress to work together to meet the needs of the entire child care sector.