With American Rescue Plan funding ending, the Mountain State is bracing for 604 potential daycare center closures impacting more than 23,000 West Virginia children.
We’re facing a critical point when it comes to childcare for families across the country, especially in West Virginia.
“In just a few short days the childcare funding that was allocated via the American Rescue Plan during the pandemic is slated to run out,” said Bryan Jamele, Care.com’s head of government relations and public policy. And currently, there are no additional funding sources being allocated.”
According to Jamele, a number of daycare center closures are imminent as a result of that reduced funding… leaving many parents, families and children in jeopardy of losing their care slots and looking for alternatives.
“We saw this at the beginning of the pandemic before the funding was put in place, thousands of daycare center closures, thousands of childcare slots. And so we’re facing a very eerily similar situation,” he said.
Jamele says that could amount to 70,000 daycare center closures nationally — putting a stager in 3.2 million children potentially at a loss of their caregiving needs. For those parents first hearing about this — he suggests exploring other childcare options (nannies, babysitters, lean on available relatives) and… Check with local parents… For opportunities to do a nanny share. Or even organize a childcare co-op, where different families take turns watching a group of children.”
“And lastly, look into workplace benefits — and see whether or not you’re one of the ones that are lucky enough to have your employer offer dependent care assistance,” he said.
Another area is the federal level and sometimes state complimentary level employer-provided childcare credits.
“That incentivizes employers to offer their employees those types of childcare and dependent care assistance programs,” said the head of government relations and public policy. “Those are the types of things that we’re focused on and advocating for working families across the country and of course in West Virginia.”
He’s encouraged that Congress and some state legislatures are acknowledging this funding loss.
“President Biden’s executive order on caregiving that he recently did, we’re encouraged by a new bipartisan caucus that was created, both Democrat and Republican in Congress relative to childcare and the childcare crisis, and so we’ll see what comes out of that,” Jamele said.
He added that we really need to help fill these gaps that will arise from the closure of the American rescue plan funding.