Press Release: 2020-03-25

Kennedy Joins Clark, Pressley and House Colleagues to Urge $21 Billion Child Care Investment for COVID-19 Response

KENNEDY JOINS CLARK, PRESSLEY AND HOUSE COLLEAGUES TO URGE $21 BILLION CHILD CARE INVESTMENT FOR COVID-19 RESPONSE

Members of MA delegation request critical child care funding in third Congressional stimulus package

Newton, MA — Congressman Joe Kennedy III today joined Congresswoman Katherine Clark and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, along with several other House colleagues, to call for the inclusion of over $21 billion in child care funding in the third emergency stimulus package currently being debated in Congress in response to COVID-19.

On Monday, Governor Charlie Baker called for the closure of most childcare programs across Massachusetts. While critical to public safety, these closures have added to the challenges working families face and — without adequate federal assistance — could significantly undermine long-term economic recovery. 

The members wrote: “Child care is the backbone of our nation’s economy. Yet, for decades, we have failed to invest the public dollars needed to ensure that all families have access to high-quality, affordable child care and that providers are well-compensated for their critical work. The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the unfortunate consequences of a long-time underinvestment in our child care infrastructure, and therefore, immediate action must be taken to address these gaps for child care providers, educators, families.”

Kennedy is an original cosponsor of the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act, which would create a network of federally-funded childcare centers across the country that every family could afford and access.

The letter calls for financial resources to:

  • Pay providers to cover their ongoing operating costs when they are closed so their financial security, and the security of educators they employ, is not threatened. This must include centers as well as home-based providers and other subsidized, informal care arrangements.
  • Eliminate copayments or tuition for families during this crisis and ensure that providers are still paid the full amount for that enrolled slot. 
  • Provide paid leave for educators and provide funding to providers to fully cover this cost.
  • Find and pay for substitute educators, where needed and when available.
  • Provide higher levels of compensation such as hazard pay for child care providers and educators serving children of frontline workers or operating for longer hours.
  • Help state or local agencies or other organizations keep track of child care programs that are closing and those that have available slots, in order to identify child care providers that may need assistance and to match supply and demand.
  • Purchase materials for providers that cannot afford or even find supplies on their own.
  • Pay for staff at call centers and child care resource and referral agencies to respond to the needs of child care workers, including to assist them in offering guidance to the families they serve as they cope with the current crisis.
  • Provide training and medical support for child care providers on health and safety practices in response to the virus, available in all relevant languages.