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Baldwin Leads Bill to Extend Vital Child Care Funding and Save Millions of Families’ Child Care Spots as Funding Cliff Looms

American Rescue Plan helped 1 in 4 Wisconsin providers stay afloat—but with funding set to expire, 85,000 Wisconsin kids expected to lose care, parents set to lose $232 million in earnings

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined over 100 co-sponsors in the U.S. House and Senate to introduce the Child Care Stabilization Act, legislation to extend vital federal child care funding—which is set to expire at the end of this month—and ensure that child care providers can keep their doors open and continue serving children and families in every part of the country. Without additional investments in child care, more than 85,000 kids in Wisconsin are expected to lose their care, almost 5,000 child care jobs will be lost, and Wisconsin parents will lose $232 million in earnings as a result of being forced to leave the workforce.

“Across the country, affordable child care is out of reach for too many families, stopping parents from getting back to work, hurting our economy, and preventing kids from getting the strong start they deserve,” said Senator Baldwin. “I was proud to help address this crisis and expand access to child care with the American Rescue Plan, delivering long-overdue relief for providers and middle-class families. But now, that progress is on the line. We must pass this legislation to lower costs for working families, help Wisconsin businesses meet the demand for workers, and grow our economy.”

When the pandemic pushed the already-fragile child care sector to the brink of collapse, the Baldwin-backed American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) responded by delivering historic federal investments to save the sector from collapse and prevent families from losing their child care spots—including $24 billion in child care stabilization funding. The funding has made an enormous difference for families across the country—keeping 220,000 child care providers afloat over the last few years and saving child care slots for up to 10 million kids nationwide—but it is set to run out on September 30, 2023, threatening to once again push the sector to the brink, with dire consequences for families and our nation’s economy.

The Child Care Stabilization Act would prevent a potential crisis when funding expires at the end of the month by providing $16 billion in mandatory funding each year for the next five years to continue the successful Child Care Stabilization Grant program, which ARPA created. This investment would ensure child care providers continue to receive a stable and reliable source of funding to help them deliver high-quality and affordable child care for working families across the country.

In Wisconsin, Child Care Counts, which received funding through ARPA, supported nearly 5,000 child care providers across the state, according to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. According to an October 2022 survey of Wisconsin providers by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, over 27 percent of providers surveyed said they would have closed without the federal funding, while over 60 percent reported they will increase tuition when the program ends.

An analysis from The Century Foundation finds that if Congress does not provide additional funding for the nation’s child care sector, more than 70,000 child care programs—one-third of those supported by stabilization funding—could close, causing approximately 3.2 million children to lose their child care spots and jeopardizing jobs for 232,000 child care workers. The loss in tax and business revenue could cost states $10.6 billion in economic activity per year. Additionally, millions of parents will likely leave the workforce or reduce their hours, which could cost families an estimated $9 billion each year in lost earnings.

In the Senate, the Child Care Stabilization Act is led by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and co-sponsored by a total of 35 Senators, in addition to 78 original co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A one-pager on this legislation and a full list of supporters is available here. Full text of the legislation is available here.