Shaheen Helps Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Address the Shortage of Affordable, Quality Childcare
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) in reintroducing the Childcare Workforce and Facilities Act to address the national shortage of affordable, quality childcare, especially in rural communities. Many families are struggling to find access to available childcare, and states continue to experience an expansion of “childcare deserts” due to the noticeable decline in the number of childcare providers, which is an issue that has only been exacerbated by this pandemic. In the House of Representatives, a companion bill was introduced by Representative Josh Harder (D-CA).
“Investing in childcare is not only the right thing to do for families, but it’s also a smart investment in our economy and future,” said Shaheen. “The COVID-19 pandemic exposed longstanding challenges around affordability and access to childcare across the U.S., especially in rural communities. Our bipartisan bill will help bolster the number of childcare professionals and facilities in areas with acute shortages. By investing in the childcare workforce and supporting local organizations, we can help ensure families aren’t faced with impossible decisions between their jobs and their families.”
The Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act would:
- Help address the shortage of affordable childcare and qualified childcare professionals, particularly in rural communities.
- Provide competitive grants to states to support (1) the education, training or retention of the childcare workforce or (2) building, renovating or expanding childcare facilities in areas with childcare shortages.
- Require applicants to demonstrate how their projects would:
- Increase the availability and affordability of quality childcare, including during nontraditional work hours.
- Help workers obtain portable, stackable credentials to foster increased mobility and opportunities for advancement in childcare careers.
- Enhance retention and compensation of quality childcare professionals.
In the Senate, Shaheen has been a champion for funding to support childcare and early education. In the government funding bill for fiscal year (FY) 2023, Senator Shaheen worked to include a $1.86 billion increase to $8.02 billion for Childcare and Development Block Grants to states, as well as a $960 million increase to Head Start, funding the program at nearly $12 billion for FY 2023. The new law additionally includes an increase of $25 million to $315 million for Preschool Development Grants. She also secured $2.5 million provision for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to develop a combined childcare facility with the New Hampshire Air National Guard. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she led efforts in Congress to assist the childcare sector. In the emergency COVID-19 relief legislation that passed Congress and was signed into law in 2020 and the American Rescue Plan, Shaheen successfully included language that provided $50 billion dollars in urgently needed support for childcare.