Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester), chair of the Assembly Women & Children Committee made the following remarks regarding Monday’s hearing on childcare deserts in New Jersey:
“Today, we heard testimony on a topic that is important to many parents like myself, which is childcare. Unfortunately, there are areas of New Jersey where providers are few and far between – meaning this critical service cannot be easily accessed.
“Right now, it’s estimated that about 40 percent of municipalities – particularly in urban, rural and low-income areas – are considered child care deserts. The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated this issue, since nearly half of all facilities are at risk of permanently closing because of the challenges this crisis has presented.
“With one-third of all children under the age of five regularly receiving care from non-relatives, this is a matter that greatly impacts many New Jersey families. We need to be able to identify exactly where these childcare deserts are in order to understand the scope of the issue and develop strategies to address these shortages.
“One such strategy could be offering subsidies to struggling providers based on enrollment, rather than attendance. We simply have to find ways to provide adequate funding for childcare providers if we want parents in our state to be able to access the support they need.
“I want to thank everyone for providing testimony on this important issue today.”