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Biden’s child care plan faces a test: Building enough centers, hiring enough workers

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02.08.2021

President Joe Biden’s proposal to help millions of more families afford child care must overcome a critical hurdle first: The nation currently lacks enough facilities and workers to staff them.

While Biden's plan also includes money for new child care centers and hiring incentives, Democrats acknowledge that many families wouldn't immediately benefit from the infusion of resources.

“That's not going to happen in three days. First we have to build the capacity and get the workers, and then we will have the ability then to move on," Senate HELP Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said.

With trillions of dollars in federal aid already poured into the economy to counter the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the situation raises larger questions about how quickly all of the new spending Biden has proposed can be absorbed.

Methods of tracking child care centers and workers vary widely from state to state, so putting a number on the child care shortage nationally is difficult. But a 25-state report from the Bipartisan Policy Center estimated that, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 2.7 million children under age 6 with working parents lacked access to child care — including day care centers, home-based child care, preschools and Head Start, among other providers.



Covid made the situation worse.

At the height of the pandemic, 60 percent of child care programs around the country had closed and one-third of the child care workforce had lost their jobs. More than 1 in 4 child care facilities were still shuttered as of December.

A survey released Tuesday by the National Association for the Education of Young Children found that 4 in 5 child care........

© Politico


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