Center for American Progress

RELEASE: America’s Child Care Sector Needs Federal and State Funding To Avoid a Surge in Child Care Deserts
Press Release

RELEASE: America’s Child Care Sector Needs Federal and State Funding To Avoid a Surge in Child Care Deserts

Washington, D.C. — In 2021, the U.S. child care sector received a boost in funding through the American Rescue Plan, including expansions to the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which helped child care centers provide quality care and families afford their services. However, this funding is set to expire by 2024, and with Congress’ failure to deliver more child care and early learning funding, more than half of the child care centers across the nation are at risk of shuttering their doors when they lose that support. A new issue brief from the Center for American Progress analyzes the devastating impact a failure to expand funding for the CCDBG would have on an already overstretched workforce. The issue brief also maps out recommendations for how states can leverage CCDBG funding to maintain and increase supply in their child care sectors, supporting families and providers alike. 

Actions states should consider to mitigate a surge in child care deserts include: 

  • Expand the availability of grants and contracts for new and existing providers by making them more accessible, particularly for providers in low-income or marginalized communities. 
  • Work with local partners to ensure that providers know they are eligible for CCDBG funding and have the tools to access these funds to expand and support their services. 
  • Increase and stabilize provider reimbursements to ensure that funding streams are reliable so providers can pay livable wages to their child care workers. 
  • Ensure that states’ plans for using federal funding have clear language that focuses on supply-building activities and include actionable ideas to support the child care workforce. 

“The child care sector has been in peril for decades. If Congress fails to renew funding and states do not proactively create plans to support their child care sectors, the country will once again be shorted the vital resources necessary to provide quality care and may face a harsh reality with even more child care deserts. Inaction on providing federal support would leave nearly one million families and providers who rely on existing programs such as the CCDBG without affordable and accessible options. There is a desperate need for large-scale investments in the sector, and inaction is not an option,” said Hailey Gibbs, a senior policy analyst for Early Childhood Policy at CAP and author of the issue brief.

Read the issue brief: “Increasing America’s Child Care Supply” by Hailey Gibbs

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sarah Nadeau at snadeau@americanprogress.org.