Passed in January 2021 with the goal of providing COVID-era relief, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocated $39 billion towards childcare programming. The majority—$24 billion—went directly to childcare and daycare centers, to help the programs remain open and staffed. On Sept. 30, that funding expired, and Congress took no action to extend it. Last month, Senate Democrats introduced The Child Care Stabilization Act, a bill to extend childcare stabilization funding for five years. But until the measure gets support from Republicans, it cannot be considered for a vote.
More than 3 million children are projected to lose access to childcare nationwide, and 70,000 childcare programs are likely to close. This will have ripple effects for parents forced out of work or to cut their work hours, for businesses who will lose valuable employees or experience the impact of their employees’ childcare disruptions, and state economies that will lose tax revenue and jobs in the childcare sector as a result.