Letters to the Editor

America's child care industry is essential for recovery

After a long, hard-fought election, it’s time to look ahead to the next four years. There is no time to lose — America’s child care industry must be prioritized to jump-start our recovery from COVID-19. Millions of parents can’t return to work until their children return to safe, high-quality, affordable child care settings.

COVID-19 placed an already fragile industry in an increasingly dire situation. Before COVID-19, access to child care was out of reach for many families due to exorbitant costs or lack of availability. Additionally, despite the substantial cost to parents, the child care workforce was underpaid, with a majority of workers relying on some form of public assistance for support.

Since the outbreak, around one-third of child care providers have closed, average enrollment is down by 67 percent, and provider costs have almost doubled. Approximately 200,000 jobs — 20 percent of the entire industry — have been lost nationwide. If immediate action isn’t taken, 4.5 million child care slots could be lost forever.

Join me and Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) in urging the new Biden administration to not only offer direct financial support to child care providers to help them stay afloat today, but to also work with Congress to pass legislation that promotes long-term financial investment in the child care industry.

Child care gives children the best start in life and empowers working parents to fully contribute to our economy. Child care is essential to our shared future!

Mary Airy

Cedar Rapids

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