(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, praised the $85 million increase in funding to help states make child care more affordable and accessible in the year-end spending package. The bill provides $5.91 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, $85 million more than fiscal year 2020, to help states continue to improve the quality and affordability of local child care programs so parents can go to work knowing their children are safe and learning the skills they need to succeed later in life.

Additionally, the COVID relief bill included $10 billion in emergency relief to support the child care sector during this crisis. While $10 billion marks an historic investment in our child care sector, significantly more funding is needed to stabilize our child sector that has been rocked by COVID-19 and ensure that every single family has access to child care going forward.

“We have long had a child care crisis in this country—and it has always hit families of color and working families the hardest. And now, as our economy is rocked by the impact of the coronavirus, our child care sector is struggling to even keep its doors open, leaving parents in a totally impossible situation. 

“We absolutely cannot overlook the critical role child care will play in our nation’s ability to recover from the current COVID-19 crisis. Frontline workers need access to child care to stay on the job, and families across the country need child care to return to once our economy opens up. This is a step in the right direction, but we’ve got a lot more to do to make sure parents—especially women and in particular women of color—don’t have to struggle even more to handle both work and family care.

“We not only need to make sure that we avoid mass closures of child care providers due to COVID, but we need to make access to affordable, quality child care a reality for every family going forward.  I will continue to fight to expand access to quality, affordable child care, support universal access to high-quality preschool programs for every 3 and 4 year old and significantly improve compensation and training for the early childhood workforce.”

In May, Senator Murray introduced the Child Care is Essential Act to create a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund within the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. The new Child Care Stabilization Fund would provide grant funding to child care providers to stabilize the child care sector and support providers to safely reopen and operate.

The Child Care for Working Families Act (2019) would ensure that no family under 150 percent of state median income pays more than seven percent of their income on child care and that families under 75 percent of the state median income will not have to pay anything at all. The bill would also support universal access to high-quality preschool programs for all 3- and 4-year olds and significantly improve compensation and training for the child care workforce.