Ernst Calls for Additional Support of Iowa’s Child Care Providers

This follows Ernst’s efforts to secure nearly $32 million for the state’s child care providers and her bipartisan push to provide new moms and dads direct assistance during COVID-19

RED OAK, Iowa—Continuing her efforts for Iowa’s working families and child care community, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is calling for $25 billion in additional support for child care providers and workers through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG).

“Even before COVID-19, Iowa’s child care community was facing a crisis, and this pandemic has only made things more challenging. That’s why I’ve made this a top priority and have continued to work across the aisle to get these front line workers and families relief during this pandemic,” said Senator Ernst. “Through the CARES Act we were able to bolster aid to our child care centers across Iowa, and as I’ve continued to listen to and hear from Iowans, it’s clear our child care centers need additional support; that’s exactly what I’m fighting for. As we safely reopen our state and country, it’s critical we ensure our working families have access to child care and providers have the support they need to care for Iowa’s kids.”

“America’s economic recovery can only succeed if the child care industry survives this crisis,” said First Five Years Fund (FFYF) Executive Director Sarah Rittling. “Millions of working parents cannot return to work if half of the nation’s child care supply has disappeared. And considerations about the health and safety of children, as well as those of the teachers who care for them, will mean further increased costs paired with reduced enrollment capacity for providers who already struggled to get by before this crisis. As Congress continues crafting the next federal relief package, we are hopeful that lawmakers will follow the lead of Sen. Ernst, Sen. Loeffler, and the many others on Capitol Hill who have fought to include adequate assistance that meets the needs of child care providers and the families they serve.”

“Thank you Senator Ernst and Senator Loeffler for your recognition of child care as an essential professional service. We applaud your resolution calling for an additional investment of $25 billion in the child care industry, which is an admirable first step. With great urgency, we implore the Senate to act immediately and approve this resolution. Child care is an essential support for working parents. Child care is vital to businesses reopening and child care is fundamental to restarting our economy,” said Iowa Women’s Foundation Executive Director Dawn Oliver Wiand.

“I am grateful for the leadership of Senator Ernst in her prioritization of the child care industry during this pandemic, and for listening to the voices of early childhood education advocates and providers in Iowa, such as the SCAN supporters across the state,” said E.J. Wallace, Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) Iowa State Manager. “Such funding will be an important first step towards a strong economic recovery. I sincerely hope other policymakers will follow her example so that parents can get back to work knowing their children are in safe and nurturing care.”

Background:

Since the onset of this pandemic, Senator Ernst has pushed to help Iowa families in several ways. She helped secure nearly $32 million for Iowa’s child care workers and providers through the CCDBG program, and has since called on the Senate to provide additional support in future COVID-19 relief legislation.

As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, Ernst fought to make sure that Iowa’s child care providers could access the Paycheck Protection Program. In addition Ernst supported funding in the relief packages for Head Start, family violence prevention and services, runaway and homeless youth programs, child welfare services, and child nutrition programs.

Ernst is also working on bipartisan legislation that would allow parents with a newborn child to claim an additional $500 in direct financial assistance provided through the CARES Act right away instead of waiting until they receive their tax return next year.

Outside of the COVID-19 relief packages, Ernst has put forward bipartisan legislation to expand access to quality affordable child care by allowing non-profit child care providers to utilize programs offered by the Small Business Administration. In addition, Ernst has also been working across the aisle to increase access to licensed child care services in child care deserts through state grants that would cover some of the cost of programs to support training for caregivers and projects to build, expand, or renovate child care facilities.

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