Giving Compass' Take:

• The authors at National Women's Law Center highlight a brief that provides new estimates of what it would cost to sustain the child care system during the coronavirus pandemic.

• How might these strategies benefit both providers and parents? What can we do to support parents struggling with child care during COVID-19?

• Here's why we need to rescue child care services from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Our nation’s child care system was already fragile before the coronavirus pandemic—providers operated on razor-thin margins, workers made poverty-level wages, and families struggled to afford care. Now the public health and economic crises we are facing have severely strained the system. Absent adequate investment, many temporary child care closures will become permanent ones, hampering our economic recovery.

Based on our analysis, if Congress appropriates $50 billion in the next coronavirus relief package, the funds would cover the cost of less than 6 months of relief and emergency care. Importantly, this funding would not necessarily be entirely forward-looking, given that providers likely need resources to cover the month or more of lost revenue they’ve already experienced since the crisis began and existing relief funds are insufficient to reach all providers who need support. Given the uncertainty around how the coronavirus pandemic will progress and how long stay-at-home orders will remain in effect, additional funding beyond $50 billion may be necessary just to keep the system afloat.

This analysis is informed by two key assumptions:

  • Emergency-care funds target providers within the current system that remain open to supply emergency care at no cost to essential workers, regardless of income
  • Relief funds target child care providers that are facing revenue losses in order to ensure they can resume typical operations as the economy moves towards normal order.

Read the full article about child care and economic recovery by Rebecca Ullrich and Aaron Sojourner at National Women's Law Center.