WASHINGTON, D.C. — From closures to staffing shortages, child care services have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Through the American Rescue Plan, Congress approved $39 billion for child care providers but many experts say that isn’t enough to address this ongoing crisis.
Some parents like Gina Forbes are calling on Congress to provide long-term federal investments into affordable child care.
Forbes said she worked at a child care center that was forced to close during the pandemic.
She’s also the mother of a young child.
“It’s a constant and persistent stress on my family to figure out how to afford high-quality childcare,” said Forbes.
Forbes said her family got some relief from the enhanced child tax credits, but Congress didn’t renew that funding this year.
Another challenge is finding qualified child care workers.
Experts say many of these workers are women, particularly minority women. As they aren’t making livable wages, some are leaving the industry for other jobs.
Some say this dilemma also hurts the career growth of parents too.
Forbes said she often must choose between work and child care.
“Can I continue to teach in a field that needs me desperately? We need every educator to show up to work and be there for other families yet I don’t know if I’m going to be able to pay my care provider this week or next week,” said Forbes.
Recent Census Bureau data also shows the enhanced child tax credit helped nearly 7 million families cover their child care costs last year.
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