Today, July 29, 2020, the House passed bipartisan legislation cosponsored by U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) — H.R. 7027, the Child Care is Essential Act — to create a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization fund and invest in child care so that providers across the Fifth District have the resources they need to safely reopen. Without adequate investments in the child care industry, families across the country will be unable to return to work.
Without sufficient support from the federal government, New Jersey could lose 147,889 licensed child care slots, approximately 54% of the child care supply. The federal investment New Jersey would receive from the Child Care is Essential Act would help child care providers stay open, keep employees on payroll, and safely operate under new guidelines.
“As I’ve heard from many members of the North Jersey community throughout this crisis, affordable child care is vital to our economy and vital to the working families who are helping keep New Jersey’s Fifth District afloat. We must make sure our child care providers have the support they need as they continue to care for kids throughout my district,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “That’s why I’m so proud that the House passed this legislation today, which I cosponsored, to ensure our child care industry can survive, that our children can continue to receive critical educational development, and that working parents get the support they need through these difficult times. It’s now up to the Senate to act and help us actually protect working families.”
Prior to the spread of the coronavirus, New Jersey could not provide care for every child that needed it. With 2.3 children per child care slot, working families lacked access to safe, quality child care. The spread of COVID-19 has only worsened this problem to the brink of catastrophe. Since the pandemic, it is now estimated that there are 5 children per child care slot. Without robust federal investments, the child care industry cannot provide the care needed to help Americans return to work.
The Child Care is Essential Act includes:
· Stabilization grants for personnel costs, sanitation and cleaning, training and other goods and services needed to maintain or resume operation of the child care program.
· Support for North Jersey child care workers. This bill requires employers to keep child care workers on payroll at the same compensation level as pre-COVID as a condition of receiving stabilization grant funds.
· Support for working North Jersey families by requiring providers to relieve families of copayments or tuition.
· Promotion of health and safety through compliance with public health guidance. Under this legislation, open providers would be required to meet health and safety guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local authorities.