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Shaheen Visits Manchester Childcare Facility, Speaks with Families and Small Business About the Childcare Crisis

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Shaheen visiting The Growing Years Early Childhood Center in Manchester.

**Later in the day, Shaheen delivers remarks at the New Hampshire Food and Nutrition Security Summit in Concord.**

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Shaheen at the New Hampshire Food and Nutrition Security Summit in Concord.

(Manchester, NH) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) hosted a press conference at The Growing Years Early Childhood Center in Manchester to highlight the childcare crisis and the urgent need for the State to deliver funding the New Hampshire delegation secured to support the childcare industry. She was joined by Caitlin Loving, a mother of two who has struggled to find childcare that meets her family’s needs; Anya Burzynski, a small business owner who discussed how this crisis is hurting her ability to hire and retain much-needed staff; and Kitty Larochelle, The Growing Years Director, who spoke about the challenges facing childcare providers and the need to bolster support for the sector. The group met in a classroom that remains empty because of staffing challenges impacting childcare providers.

“The childcare crisis has hit businesses and families across New Hampshire – particularly in the wake of the pandemic. Today, I visited Growing Years to meet with Kitty, Anya and Caitlin, a childcare provider, a small business owner and a mother of two, about the personal impacts of challenges around childcare access and affordability. We know our economy is stronger when parents have the ability to work without worrying about whether their kids are in safe hands. That’s why I pushed for $77 million in federal childcare funding for New Hampshire in the American Rescue Plan, so our providers have the resources they need to service local families,” said Shaheen. “But two years later, $23 million remains untouched in the State’s coffers. Every day wasted hamstrings our effort to bring childcare within reach for families in need. As I keep up pressure on the State to administer these funds immediately, I’ll continue working in the Senate to comprehensively tackle challenges around childcare affordability and access.”

In the Senate, Shaheen has been a champion for funding to support childcare and early education. Earlier this week, Shaheen 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. 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. 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 in urgently needed support for childcare.

Later in the day, Shaheen delivered remarks at the NH Food and Nutrition Security Summit in Concord. The Senator highlighted the extraordinary efforts of New Hampshire hunger advocates during the pandemic and underscored federal funds and nutrition programs available to help Granite Staters access nutritious, affordable food.

“The pandemic exacerbated food access challenges facing families across New Hampshire, and it has required an all-hands-on-deck effort to connect those struggling with available resources,” said Shaheen. “I’d like to thank NH Hunger Solutions, today’s awardees and all volunteers for their tireless efforts to bridge the gap in access to nutritious, affordable food. Our work is not over, and I will continue to support frontline organizations as we ultimately strengthen food systems, so no Granite Stater goes hungry.

Senator Shaheen has long led efforts to address food insecurity in New Hampshire. Earlier this year, she visited the NH Food Bank to highlight the $974,000 Congressionally Directed Spending award she secured in the FY23 government funding legislation. The legislation also included $257,000 in federal funds for New Hampshire Hunger Solutions to enhance their outreach and communications about federal nutrition programs. NH Hunger Solutions and the NH Food Bank were supportive of the Expanding SNAP Options Act, legislation Shaheen cosponsored to address hunger needs in light of COVID-19 and ensure SNAP recipients have adequate options to safely shop for groceries in the midst of the public health pandemic. The bill would expand online SNAP purchasing options by enabling and supporting additional retailers to participate in the program. Shaheen also was a key supporter of the American Rescue Plan, federal legislation which, among many key nutrition provisions, provided $4 billion in flexible funding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to invest in local food purchasing and distribution networks. Shaheen led bipartisan negotiations on nutrition assistance included in the 2020 COVID relief legislation that was signed into law, successfully securing $175 million for Older Americans Act (OAA) nutrition programs.