Viewpoint: Child care merits greater investment
For months, as the Covid-19 pandemic continued and intensified, early care and education providers in the District and across the country wondered how they were going to survive. The $3.5 billion in early care and education funding from March’s CARES Act — of which the District received just over $6 million — has long been spent.
Finally, after much wrangling, a bipartisan, bicameral group of federal legislators has created a relief framework that proposes $10 billion to support early care and education providers nationwide. This funding would represent a lifeline and work to ensure their long-term sustainability. Why shine a spotlight on early care and education when so many are struggling? It allows other industries (like the airlines), and our economy as a whole, to function and to prosper. The industry provides care for children of essential workers and parents who are returning to work. It supports early childhood education and social-emotional development and builds the foundation for children’s lifelong well-being.
Early care and education for children from birth to age 5 should be considered a public good, similar to K-12 education. And for this reason, the country also needs to think beyond short-term relief by exploring new funding approaches to ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry. When you risk the viability of this sector, you are risking the viability of the entire economy.
Source: The Washington Business Journal, submitted by David Daniels CEO and president of the Bainum Family Foundation