Jobs are disappearing as states reduce access to subsidized child care. Maine, Arkansas, and Vermont, for example, have changed eligibility standards, while Florida and New Hampshire have increased parent co-pays. In 2008, 400,000 children nationwide were on waiting lists for services and many more were eligible.
Options for funding jobs in this area include increases in the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant program and expanded eligibility for children to enter the Head Start program. These two funding streams are currently relatively small, but they could handle significantly more than they currently receive.
The Child Care and Development Block Grant program was funded at $5 billion in fiscal year 2009, which ended in September this year, plus $2 billion in ARRA funding in 2009. This program could handle another $10 billion in the coming fiscal year. Head Start received $7.1 billion in fiscal 2009 and was allocated $2.1 billion through ARRA, but could quickly absorb another $2.2 billion.
Additional resources could help bolster employment in afterschool programs as well. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers could easily accommodate a doubling of funding at an additional cost of about $1 billion in fiscal year 2010.
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