Peters Announces Support for Child Care is Essential Act, Pushes for Funding for Child Care Centers as Part of Next COVID-19 Relief Package

DETROIT, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) announced support for legislation that would help ensure that child care providers have the resources needed to maintain operations and reopen safely and is pushing for its inclusion as part of the next Coronavirus relief package. The Child Care is Essential Act, which Peters is cosponsoring, would provide $50 billion to a new Child Care Stabilization fund within the already existing Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. As businesses work to reopen and working families need child care, many providers in Michigan and across the country remain shut down or are operating with significantly reduced capacity and as a result have lower enrollment and revenues. This funding would provide a critical lifeline and the support necessary to help child care providers reopen or continue their services. According to a National Association for the Education of Young Children survey of more than 5,000 child care providers, approximately 40 percent of these organizations that existed before the pandemic expect to close permanently unless they receive additional public assistance. Michigan could see 41 percent of child care slots lost without adequate federal funding.

“Many child care centers in Michigan and across the country are struggling to keep their doors open or reopen or are operating with reduced enrollment, and many working families are facing financial and child care challenges because of this pandemic,” said Senator Peters. “To reopen our economy and for parents to return to work, we must address the child care crisis confronting us, while prioritizing the health and safety of children and child care workers. As we work on the next Coronavirus relief package, the Senate should include the Child Care is Essential Act to provide urgently needed support for child care providers and working families.”

The new Child Care Stabilization Fund would provide grant funding to child care providers to stabilize the child care sector and support providers to safely reopen and operate. These grants would help child care providers and working families by:

  • Ensuring that the grants adequately support providers’ operating expenses and funding gets to them quickly;
  • Requiring that providers continue to pay their staff;
  • Providing tuition and copayment relief for working families;
  • Prioritizing centers in underserved communities;
  • Promoting health and safety through compliance with public health guidance; and
  • Ensuring grants are awarded equitably across child care settings.

Peters has worked on and led numerous efforts to strengthen safe, affordable child care and access for working families. Peters helped introduce the Child Care for Working Families Act that would expand the Child Care and Development Block Grant to more families, increase federal funding for preschool programs and provide additional resources to expand Head Start programs across the country. Peters also announced this past May wide-ranging support for his proposal that would provide pandemic premium pay to reward and retain essential frontline workers, such as educators and child care professionals.