Lawmakers introduce bill that would provide more funding more childcare providers

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 7:15 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Federal funding for childcare centers across the country is set to expire by the end of September. Some legislators are pushing to expand that funding so daycares can stay open.

More than 1,300 childcare providers and daycare centers in Virginia depend on federal funding that was approved during the pandemic. But that money is expected to expire by September 30.

“Just in Virginia, it could cost 80,000 childcare slots, cause a loss of more than 2,800 jobs for childcare workers and at exactly the wrong time,” U.S. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine said. “The American economy was really starting to hum.”

Senator Kaine and other lawmakers proposed a new bill that would extend that funding for childcare.

“We can’t afford to turn a deaf ear to childcare at a time when childcare availability is short,” Senator Kaine said.

Individual states would decide what to do with the $16 billion included in the ‘Child Care Stabilization Act’. Senator Kaine explained one idea behind the funding is hiring more daycare staff and increasing salaries.

“A lot of people pay more for childcare than they do for college and yet what a weird market it is because childcare providers don’t make what college professors make,” Senator Kaine said.

That money could also go toward expanding access to infant childcare, which has become more difficult to find throughout the Commonwealth.

“What we think this $16 billion can do is maintain a more adequate supply and help providers provide a better salary for their staff without putting that extra cost on the shoulders of families, who then might find themselves priced out,” Senator Kaine said.

The bill would provide childcare centers with funding for the next five years.