An Upcoming Child Care Cliff May Wreak Havoc on Workers

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The American Rescue Plan Act, passed in 2021, gave states nearly $40 billion in funding for child care relief, and federal data shows the money went to 220,000 child care providers, saved more than 1 million in early educator jobs and enabled 9.6 million children to continue receiving care. That funding is set to run out at the end of September — and a new report by The Century Foundation describes what is ahead as a “child care cliff.” Child care for millions of parents has long been a challenge, but the pandemic dealt a blow to what already was a rickety, ad-hoc system of day care centers and in-home care, with thousands of centers shutting down and burned-out workers leaving in droves.

What’s at stake? Julie Kashen, author of the Century Foundation report, said the potential impacts include the likely closure of 70,000 programs, the loss of 3.2 million child care spots and $10.6 billion in annual economic activity, as well as $9 billion in lost earnings for parents.

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