In response to the September 30th expiration of expanded child care funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, Rebecca Rewald, Oxfam America’s Senior Gender Policy Advisor, said:
“Congress and President Biden’s decision to let the American Rescue Plan Act’s crucial child care funding expire will have a detrimental effect on our nation’s children, parents, caregivers, and child care providers. This federal support offered a lifeline to child care programs across the country, but now millions of children will lose access to child care as these programs are forced to close. Not to mention, the child care workforce is now expected to lose over 200,000 jobs. And these are just the consequences we can predict. The ripple effects of this child care cliff will be felt throughout our economy and communities for years to come.
“The country is nowhere near prepared to handle the fallout. We are already in the midst of a massive child care crisis. Parents and caregivers struggle every day to access affordable programs, and child care workers are leaving the field in droves due to poor pay and insufficient resources. The government does next to nothing to ensure the child care industry and the people it serves are protected. The U.S. actually scores a failing grade of 43 out of 100 in federal care policies according to our care policy scorecard.
“Come September 30th, that crisis is set to get a whole lot worse. This cliff will disproportionately impact already-underserved communities, especially rural families, families with low incomes, and women and families of color. Letting this funding expire without a backup plan shows a callous disregard for the needs of a huge swath of the population. The federal government’s decision here will undoubtedly exacerbate the deep economic and social inequalities that define the U.S. today.
“Oxfam urges Congress and the Biden Administration to take immediate action to fill the gaps left by the expiration of these ARPA funds. We strongly endorse efforts to address the impending child care cliff, including the passage of the Child Care Stabilization Act, which would provide $16 billion in child care stabilization over five years. This act would be a critical step toward ensuring that we’re not making it even harder for people to access and provide child care in America.”
Notes to Editors:
A recent report by The Century Foundation estimates that the child care cliff will cause 3.2 million children to lose access to childcare, as well as a loss of 232,000 jobs within the child care workforce.