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Federal Childcare Funding Set to Expire Sept. 30

What parents need to know

Madison Miller

Published on: September 07, 2023

mom and child holding hands on the way to daycare

At the end of September, 183,700 Washington children could be at risk of losing access to affordable childcare.

In 2021, the American Rescue Act prevented the childcare sector from collapsing — keeping 220,000 providers’ doors open and saving 10 million childcare slots for children nationwide. 

The funding is set to expire Sept. 30, threatening to make childcare even less accessible and affordable.

“We have a child care crisis — and we actually had a child care crisis before COVID. But it was a silent crisis because parents did not talk about it — because they were worried when they went to get a job that if they said ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do with my kids,’ they wouldn’t get that job. But the pandemic actually opened up this conversation,” Senator Patty Murray, who has been a longtime affordable childcare advocate, said in a press release. “We have a childcare crisis, and we need to deal with it as a country. And I will tell you: I am concerned that the stabilization funds that end [soon] are going to make it even worse, and that’s a reality we have to face.”

Should Congress vote to cease more than $37 billion in childcare funding, it could leave workers, childcare businesses and working families with young children in the lurch without more childcare funding to meet their ongoing needs. 

For Washington families, the state could expect to lose $389,582,536 in funding, possibly impacting 183,700 Washington children.

According to a joint report from Senator Murray and Senator Bernie Sanders published in May, childcare workers have reported that the lack of funding will take a toll on the already fragile industry.

  • 1 in 5 childcare programs say they will have to serve fewer children.
  • 4 in 10 childcare programs say they will be forced to raise tuition for working parents.
  • 3 in 10 childcare programs say they will be forced to cut wages or be unable to sustain any previous wage increases. 

“We have a childcare crisis in America that we have got to address,” Senator Sanders said in a press release. “The American Rescue Plan provided critical funding that made child care available to millions of children and allowed child care programs throughout our country to stay open. If Congress does not act by Sept. 30 to renew these funds, millions of working families with children will be at risk of losing the quality care that they need. We cannot allow that to happen.”

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