The child-care industry was among the hardest-hit industries by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many programs forced to temporarily close and then reopen with decreased enrollment and higher operating costs. To help struggling providers remain in business, the Assembly Women and Children Committee advanced a Democrat-sponsored bill on Wednesday to establish a Child Care Revitalization Fund.
The bill (A-5863), first of its kind in the nation, would create a $100 million fund under the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to support child-care providers significantly impacted by the pandemic.
Upon the legislation advancing, Assembly sponsors Lisa Swain (D-Bergen, Passaic), Andrew Zwicker (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon), Vincent Mazzeo (D-Atlantic), Joann Downey (D-Monmouth), Roy Freiman (D-Somerset, Mercer, Middlesex, Hunterdon), Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester), Shanique Speight (D-Essex) and Speaker Craig J. Coughlin (D-Middlesex) issued the following joint statement:
“As our state continues to come out of this crisis, one key component of our recovery that we cannot ignore is the restoration of child-care services. Many of the child-care programs that made it through the pandemic are now struggling to stay afloat. Without our support, they may be unable to expand services or continue to stay in business.
“Many parents – especially mothers – have been unable to re-enter the workforce because they lack access to affordable child care. New Jersey families will face financial difficulties and our economic recovery will falter if we cannot provide a sufficient network of high-quality, affordable licensed child-care providers throughout our state.
“New Jersey will be a model for the rest of the country in offering financial support to struggling providers. This will not only show our appreciation for the invaluable services they supplied during an unprecedented crisis, but will ensure our child-care providers can continue to offer these services going forward.”