It’s been two months since the federal government’s $24 billion in childcare stabilization grants expired, sending the sector over what many have come to refer to as the “childcare cliff.” Tens of thousands of Americans missed work in October, the first month without stabilization grants, due to childcare problems. In the weeks after the funding expired; 29 percent of U.S. families reported that their childcare tuition had increased; 28 percent of childcare providers said they had reduced staff wages; and another quarter of providers reported that they were serving fewer children than when they’d been receiving stabilization funding.
The Biden administration has asked Congress to approve $16 billion in supplemental funding to support the early care and education sector. Short of that—which would be something of a miracle in the current political environment in Washington—providers and families are left to fend for themselves. “It’s an economic imperative. It’s a moral imperative. But lawmakers should also see it as a political imperative: It’s affecting families’ bottom line.”