Over 1,900 people, from nearly every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, as well as, tribes registered to join us on Saturday, February 27 for a national webinar for family child care educators called “Understanding Federal Funding: What’s in it for Family Child Care?”
Family child care educators Jaqueline Evans from Oklahoma and Sasha Shunk from Maine were stellar hosts and moderators for the session. We were so glad to have Katie Hamm, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development from the Office of Early Childhood Development, join us. Then, a panel that included Anne Hedgepeth from Child Care Aware of America, Jessica Sager from All Our Kin and Lucy Recio from National Association for the Education of Young Children teamed up with Lanette Dumas and Mary Beth Testa from NAFCC to help make sure that family child care educators across the country were engaged in the facts and the possibilities ahead.
“For the past year, family child care educators, we’ve been here every day on the front lines of the pandemic. We stayed open when schools closed. We figured out how to safely care for and educate children while holding them in our hearts, if not our arms. We did it all on a shoestring—a shoestring that got shorter each day as our enrollments went down and our costs went up. And so, we took on another role, and advocated for ourselves and our families. We talked to state leaders. We talked to federal leaders. And then we did it again and again. And it worked,” Sasha said.
“Today, we are here because you were heard. Every call, every email, every story you told: about your high costs, about your stress, about your own children and families, about the intense choices you’ve had to make to take care of yourself and those around you. You have been heard!” Lanette shared.
President Biden recently signed the American Rescue Plan into law. It includes the $39 billion advocates asked for together to stabilize child care. The $39 billion invests in two ways:
- $15 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (which helps families pay for child care) and
- $24 billion for a new child care stabilization fund (that will help providers cover their costs as they are waiting for families to return).
This is for centers and for family child care and for families. The legislation includes a lot of details: funds and guidance will move from the federal agency to states, territories and Tribes. At that time, states, territories and tribes will make choices about how to invest in child care centers, family child care homes and support for families.
We want them to make those choices in some big effective ways. We want to see investment in family child care educators based on the unique needs and realities of family child care and the families counting on you. And for all of family child care – not necessarily limited to those who have been in the child care subsidy/assistance program before.
This national webinar was a team effort. Thank you to the organizations that agreed to co-sponsor and spread the word: AFSCME, SEIU, Child Care Aware of America, All Our Kin, ZERO TO THREE, the Alliance for Early Success, and NAEYC. It takes every willing partner to help family child care to thrive and we are here for it.
This investment is to provide relief. It’s also about setting the stage for a better future for family child care, for all of child care and for those counting on child care. Family child care educators, NAFCC thanks you for everything you shared and everything you’ve done to help get the country to this point. We say thank you to the champions in Congress and all of their staff for all of the questions they asked and all the ideas pushed to help get us to this point. And, we thank the Administration for leading with this relief proposal.