This bold plan takes the necessary steps to begin addressing our child care crisis. However, a portion of those funds should be earmarked to increase and support Black-owned child care centers.

Earmarking funds for Black-owned child care providers would help advance racial equity and dismantle systems of oppression through reparations. President Biden has already committed to address systemic racism, and here is an opportunity to follow through. According to a recent report by the House Small Business Committee, Black-owned businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, especially in the child care industry. According to a recent survey by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, approximately two out of five child care providers said they would likely close permanently without continued public assistance, as did half of all providers owned by people of color.

The Department of the Treasury released a report in September on the “unworkable” child care system that is not meeting the needs of most parents in our country. Specifically, the average family devotes 13% of their household budget to cover child care. The majority of families in our country do not have easy access to high-quality care options. According to the Center for American Progress, more than half of all U.S. residents live in a child care “desert.”

Investing in both child care and Black-owned businesses will benefit us all. The Treasury’s report outlined several “spillover effects” for families who have access to high-quality care. Children who attended a high-quality early learning center were more likely to stay in school and grow up to be healthy, and they were less likely to need public assistance as adults. The effects were magnified for children from low-income families.

There is another crisis in early childhood education that does not get as much attention as the other challenges, and that is the prevalence of anti-Blackness, which Amherst College defines as “behaviors, attitudes and practices of people and institutions that work to dehumanize black people in order to maintain white supremacy.” Anti-Blackness begins as early as infancy but has been well-documented in pre-kindergarten programs. The National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives’ report, which found that Black children are expelled at twice the rate of their peers, and the Yale Child Study Center’s research on racial bias among preschool teachers are just two studies that illuminate the need for transformative change. It is Black leaders like me who are stepping in to not only dismantle these anti-Black trends that are causing trauma and harm to our children but also to build culturally responsive environments that are affirming and lead to lifelong positive outcomes.

Read the full article about Black-owned childcare centers by Choquette Hamilton at YES! Magazine.