Child care is essential infrastructure for Iowa’s working parents and employers. This is especially true during a global pandemic and disaster recovery due to a powerful derecho. Federal dollars, in the next COVID-19 relief package, will stabilize the struggling child care industry. A full $50 billion is needed to 1. Keep current programs open. 2. Reopen closed programs. 3. Expand programs across the state.
Pre-pandemic, Iowa had child care deserts, where the demand for child care exceeds the supply- 3:1. This is especially true in Iowa’s small towns and rural areas. Infant-Toddler care is expensive for parents and challenging to find. School age child care is an additional need for working parents who have children needing care when school is not in session.
Bipartisan polling, commissioned by the First Five Years Fund and Center for American Progress, illustrates voter demand across this nation for additional emergency relief funding for child care. This demand spans all political parties and multiple constituencies such as those who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 (74 percent), voters 65 and older (83 percent), suburban women (86 percent), and Black (97 percent) and Latinx (93 percent) voters.
I’m urging Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, and Rep. Abby Finkenauer to ensure that $50 billion is designated for stabilizing child care across all settings.