The COVID-19 pandemic has created a crisis in caregiving, especially for child care providers, many of whom have been forced to scale back or close operations entirely.

Those remaining in business, including many CSEA/VOICE child care providers, continue to provide essential services to families who need child care despite the great risk to their own and their family’s health. Often talked about as the ‘invisible’ sector, in reality, child care is the underpinning of our economy and is in dire need of support.

A recent proposal would increase income for child care providers and increase access to affordable child care for families. The plan, recently put forward by Presidential candidate Joe Biden, would emphasize tax credits and state funding subsidies to make child care more affordable and more accessible to working families. The plan would cost $775 billion over 10 years and would be mostly funded through limiting tax loopholes and exemptions for real estate investors.

The plan also includes funding for new child care jobs and increased pay for child care workers through new state standards and federal minimum wage laws. Also proposed are plans to build and upgrade child care facilities through tax breaks.

While the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has provided states with supplemental funding for child care through the Child Care and Development Block grant, the program has failed to adequately address the child care crisis that providers and families face.

“The pandemic has laid bare just how hard it is for people in this country to find access to quality caregiving they need for themselves, or to juggle the responsibilities of working and also caring for family members,” the Biden campaign said in a statement accompanying the rollout of the proposal. “Many parents are struggling to find child care while they go to their jobs, or find themselves as 24/7 caregivers trying to keep their children safe and learning while working remotely.”

Wells

CSEA/VOICE Local 100A President Pam Wells said that providers are encouraged by the plan.

“We find it encouraging to see our values reflected throughout Biden’s child care plan,” Wells said. Treating caregivers and early educators with respect and dignity is exactly what we fought for and have in CSEA. This is a great step for providers across the country.”

“We are also encouraged by the plan’s recognition that quality care begins with the child care workforce,” Wells said. “Bonus payments to providers giving extended hour care and expanding access to high-quality care for families with high barriers to care directly benefits family child care right here in New York.”

The plan will not only help families who need affordable child care, but providers who have been struggling during the pandemic.

“Providers who were already operating on razor-thin margins are facing higher costs and lower revenues since fewer children are attending as parents work from home or have lost employment due to cuts during the pandemic,” Wells said. “Many programs have closed their doors and it is projected to only get worse. Offering a sliding scale subsidy plan for low to middle-class families and reducing their out-of-pocket cost to 7 percent or less of their income; this is huge both for the families we serve and for our providers serving low income families.”

The plan also includes caregiving proposals to older Americans and those with disabilities.

— Jill Asencio

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About Author

Jill Asencio

Jill Asencio is the statewide communications specialist assigned to CSEA Headquarters in Albany. She is a summa cum laude graduate of The College of Saint Rose and award-winning photo/video journalist and public relations professional. As part of CSEA’s communication team since 2007, she found her passion in labor, advocating for children and New York’s working families. Asencio understands first-hand the value of growing up in a union household and the deep connection unions have in ensuring strong, educated and healthy families.

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