The American Prospect
Clark’s grant is part of $39 billion in funding that the ARP sent to the child care sector in stabilization grants to keep programs from going under. The money has done precisely what it promised, keeping providers’ doors open and children enrolled. But it also did something else: It served as a test run for what it would look like if the federal government decided to make a substantial, ongoing investment in child care and early-childhood education. And it proved that such an investment would work.
On top of that, many states, controlled by both Democrats and Republicans, are putting the ARP child care funds toward the kinds of investments that Democrats had envisioned in the original Build Back Better package.
“That tells us there is an opening for additional resources that support those kind of policy changes,” said Anne Hedgepeth, deputy chief of policy at Child Care Aware of America.
Many states and providers put the grants toward higher compensation to try to solve the staffing issue, but when the money dries up, providers will once again be strapped to pay their teachers competitively. That will mean the return of wait lists and classroom closures. “We’ll see programs having to shutter their doors,” Hedgepeth said. Providers will have no choice but to keep increasing prices on already-stretched families.
“Every state will have now managed a robust grant program in their child care systems where they reached thousands of programs and providers,” Hedgepeth said. The kind of investment that would have been made through Build Back Better “really lends itself to leveraging the systems that have been built under the American Rescue Plan Act funding.”
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