As the child care industry struggles to stay afloat amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Assemblywomen Gabriela Mosquera, Lisa Swain and Carol Murphy have sponsored a resolution that would urge Congress to pass and enact the federal “Child Care is Essential Act” to help providers offset increased costs of providing child care. The measure was resolved by the full Assembly Thursday, 71-1-5.
The focus of the resolution (AR-180) – the “Child Care is Essential Act” – is a piece of federal legislation that would establish a Child Care Stabilization Fund within the existing Department of Health and Human Services Child Care and Development Block Grant. The act would appropriate $50 billion to the fund, which would be awarded to various child care providers in an effort to help them offset increased costs caused by the ongoing pandemic.
Copies of the resolved measure will now be transmitted to the Majority and Minority Leaders of both the United States Senate and House of Representatives, as well as every member of the New Jersey Congressional Delegation.
Upon the resolution passing the full Assembly, Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester), Swain (D-Bergen, Passaic) and Murphy (D-Burlington) issued the following joint statement:
“Child care providers have lost significant revenue in recent months due to the pandemic, with nearly half closing their facilities during shutdowns and a majority of the remaining providers serving fewer children in order to comply with health and safety guidelines.
“Here in New Jersey, only some facilities were able to remain open during the height of the outbreak in order to solely provide care to children of essential workers. The financial challenges this necessary mandate posed is why many parents found their usual daycare centers permanently closed when our state finally began to reopen.
“It is imperative our country does everything we can to keep the remaining child care centers open for a number of reasons. Parents need access to child care in order to return to work and support their families; children need stable, quality care when their parents are unavailable; and countless employees rely on these businesses for employment.
“Allocating money to a Child Care Stabilization Fund would help facilities pay for necessary personnel costs, employee salaries, personal protective equipment, staff training, sanitation supplies and more. We urge Congress to help working families access the child care they need by providing financial support to these businesses during this turbulent time.”