Childcare facilities express concerns over lack of funding

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 5:32 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Childcare facilities are concerned with the lack of funding for families to place their kids in childcare.

The American Rescue Plan Childcare Stabilization Grant is set to run out by the end of September. The proposed Child Care Stabilization bill would extend childcare funding for 5 years.

“Without reliable childcare programs that are regulated or state-licensed,” says Backyard Bears Day School Owner and Director Amanda Saunders, “a lot of times children end up in a situation with, like, an unregulated provider or family friend, or even family member who really isn’t qualified to perfectly care for a child.”

She says lack of childcare puts kids in a high-risk situation.

“Not only are our children’s lives put in danger, but also too for parents, it’s hard for them to hold employment when they don’t have reliable childcare,” Saunders explains “When you have to call someone different every day to provide childcare services or look for a babysitter every other day. It’s hard to keep a job with no job. It’s hard to provide for your family at all.”

According to The Century Foundation, more than 70,000 childcare programs could close. One third of those programs are supported by stabilization funding.

In Virginia, around 45,000 kids are in need of childcare, bringing the childcare gap to 11.9%. according to the Bipartisan Policy Center 2019 data.

“We participated in the first round of the childcare stabilization program. We were able to not only supply the classroom with things that needed to be done, which otherwise could have been a markup and tuition,” adds Saunders.

Saunders says other programs have changed eligibility requirements to help families with cost.

“I saw a family of four that makes $8,000 a month a couple of weeks ago qualify,” emphasizes Saunders. “People that think that they are not going to be eligible for it are eligible for it.”

The Child Care Subsidy program has expanded the eligibility requirements to middle-class families that did not have access before. Click here for more information.