07.28.20

Gardner Fights for Child Care Services in Colorado

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the Back to Work Child Care Grants Act last week to support the safety of child care services in Colorado. Gardner joined U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), to introduce this legislation, which would provide critical resources to help child care providers safely reopen and help support working parents.

“We must continue to support Colorado’s working parents and children during these incredibly challenging and uncertain times,” said Senator Gardner. “Parents everywhere are concerned with making sure that child care is available and schools are reopening safely. This critical legislation will help ensure that vital child care services can safely reopen and be there to support working parents in need.”

“Iowa families depend on the survival of our existing child care providers. In my conversations with our moms and dads and providers across the state, I’ve heard consistently—even before COVID-19—about the struggle to find quality, affordable child care, and I’ve worked to fix that,” said Senator Ernst. “Unfortunately, this pandemic has only made our child care crisis worse. In addition to the support we helped secure in the CARES Act, this new proposal will help relieve anxiety for families by ensuring our kids are in safe environments and stabilizing the child care sector as a whole.”

“Child care is a critical part to getting our country back to work. Two-thirds of children in the U.S. under age 6 have parents in the workforce, and those parents can’t go to work if they don’t have someone to take care of their children safely during the day. I’m urging other senators to support Sen. Ernst's proposal to provide more support to child care providers who have been severely harmed by the COVID-19 outbreak so they can continue to provide critical services to working parents,” said Senator Alexander.

“Without question, the survival of the child care industry will be central to the success of America’s overall economic recovery from this crisis,” said First Five Years Fund (FFYF) Executive Director Sarah Rittling. “The pandemic has exacerbated an already difficult situation for families and providers, and surfaced the truly essential role that child care plays in this country. Dedicated efforts by Congress are necessary to ensuring child care providers of all sizes are not forced to close their doors, but instead have the means necessary to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for their staff and the children in their care.  We are grateful to Senators Ernst and Gardner for their leadership in introducing this legislation and in recognizing the needs of families and providers. We are hopeful that Congressional leaders will include a child care stabilization fund in the upcoming COVID-19 relief package, as any meaningful efforts to aid America’s economic recovery will be immediately undermined if the child care industry is allowed to collapse.”

Child care is a critical component of economic recovery from COVID-19 and providers are struggling to keep their doors open due to loss of revenue and the high cost of necessary investments in safety measures. 

According to a March 2020 National Association for the Education of Young Children survey of 85 Colorado child care providers, 33 percent of providers indicated they could not survive a closure of more than two weeks without “significant public investment.”

The Back to Work Child Care Grants Act supports the economic recovery and helps parents go back to work by providing:

  • Critical resources to help child care providers reopen and stay open 
    • Provides 9-month financial assistance for providers to open, welcomes children safely, and ensures a robust child care sector is available for families
    • Allows states to design state-specific plans to support child care centers, operators, providers in their state
    • Sends funds to child care providers more quickly without administrative red tape
  • Safe environments for children 
    • Requires all providers receiving assistance to follow all state and local health and safety guidelines
    • Requires states to ensure a diverse field of child care setting options for parents, including center-based, family child care, and faith-based options

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.