Thank you for partnering with thread to advocate for increased federal child care investment over the past several months. Here is an update on where things stand around child care at the federal level.
The country’s child care system was struggling before the pandemic—and continues to struggle today. Increased federal relief funding from the US Congress during the pandemic has kept the system from collapsing. This funding has also allowed parents and caregivers the ability to continue to work and provide for their families, and child care centers to remain open. Here in Alaska, that federal relief funding is being distributed in three phases to bring stability to the sector.
While those increased investments were welcomed, more are still needed. The increased investment only highlighted the systemic problems, it didn’t solve them.
Last year, Build Back Better – a budget reconciliation package that invested in several different policy areas – was brought forward in the US Congress. The Build Back Better framework provided solutions and funding to many of child care’s systemic issues. It was celebrated when it passed the US House last November, but it faced challenges in the US Senate.
Despite those challenges, child care advocates and supporters across the country – including many of you – sent letters and made phone calls encouraging US Senators to include child care funding in any bill passed through the “reconciliation” process. Unfortunately, that bill, now known as the Inflation Reduction Act, passed the US Senate earlier this month without funding for child care.
Although there is a sense of disappointment in this outcome, there is also hope. Today, child care remains a topic of national conversation. Parents and providers continue to share their stories, and advocates continue to speak out about the need for public investment and changes in the system. In addition, several legislators have publicly expressed their commitment to solving the child care crisis. thread remains committed to advocating for child care solutions and increased public investment, and looks forward to partnering with you on this ongoing effort.
Currently, the US Senate is making recommendations for appropriations, including the amount for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG). The CCDBG is the primary source of funding for Alaska’s child care subsidy program. Increasing the amount appropriated to the CCDBG would potentially increase the number of families eligible for child care subsidies. This would help parents get back to work, positively impacting families, businesses and child care providers. thread is carefully watching the appropriations process as it moves forward, and will continue to share opportunities for advocacy on thread’s Advocacy Center and updates on thread News.
Thank you again for your advocacy. It has made an impact. You can sign up for thread’s advocacy alerts to stay up to date on next steps for child care funding and policy.