Child Care Investments: Are States Ready for the Spotlight?

The American Rescue Plan includes $39 Billion for child care programs – more than the federal government has targeted for such needs in the last five years, put together. Are states ready for the infusion, and do they have the means to effectively manage these funds?

Federal funding as part of a post-COVID recovery included a variety of facets — but child care has long lingered among the tougher to solve elements of getting the county back to “normal.” The recently passed American Rescue Plan added to child care resources from earlier legislation, with a weighty $39 billion investment in this priority – using states as the conduits to deliver the services.

A write-up on the website The 19th focuses on child care issues, and discusses staffing and system changes that states may need to undertake to effectively steward these large commitments. From their article:

Combined with the billions in child care aid already included in earlier stimulus packages, states and tribes are looking at a degree of funding that could transform child care industries that have been neglected for decades, but they’ll have to do it with small departments and outdated systems. They will also have to focus on reaching people who have never qualified or been helped by child care dollars, a particular challenge that is beyond the scope of what agencies have done in the past.

“It is more money than the states have ever received for child care — multiples more than they’ve ever received before — and it is a big undertaking, especially if you are thinking about reaching more children, more families, more providers who may not have a relationship with the states at all,” said Mario Cardona, the chief of policy and practice at Child Care Aware, a national child care advocacy organization.

Read the full article on The 19th.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties