Federal investments like the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) have been a lifeline for the child care sector and families over the last two years. But with ARPA set to expire at the end of the month, thousands of Massachusetts families could lose access to care and child care programs could be shuttered.
According to an analysis from The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank, just over 56,000 children in Massachusetts are set to lose their care, with more than 1,800 child care programs at risk of closing due to a lack of funding.
ARPA was passed in 2021 to put $39 billion in emergency funds toward stabilizing the country’s child care sector. Of the more than $510 million in ARPA funding allotted to Massachusetts, $17.7 million was put toward early education and child care.
As the Sept. 30 expiration date for funding approaches, we want to hear your concerns about child care.
The think tank predicted a “child care cliff” will sweep the nation as states face a steep dropoff in federal child care investment, with profound ripple effects extending to state economies.
More than 3 million children nationwide are projected to lose access to child care and 70,000 child care programs are likely to close, the analysis reported.
Here in Massachusetts, parents could lose $219 million in earnings if they leave work or cut their hours to take on child care responsibilities. Employers could lose $252 million in productivity with the loss of valuable employees, and the state could be out of $9.4 million in income tax revenue. More than 5,800 childcare jobs could disappear, the Century Foundation estimated.
Not to mention that parents who do manage to find child care are left to foot a hefty bill; Massachusetts ranks as one of the most expensive places in the country to find childcare, according to Care.com’s annual report on childcare costs.
But a new bill introduced last week could prevent a child care crisis by mandating federal funding for child care.
The Child Care Stabilization Act, supported by Massachusetts Congresswoman Katherine Clark and many other lawmakers, would provide $16 billion in mandatory federal funding each year for the next five years to continue the Child Care Stabilization Grant Program.
“We can’t turn back now. Child care is economic infrastructure — it is critical to growing the economy by growing the middle class. We must urgently enact the Child Care Stabilization Act to protect the financial security of families and workers and maintain our progress in the fight for affordable, high-quality care for all,” Clark said in a statement.
If you are a parent, how will the end of ARPA impact you? Are you worried about being able to afford child care? If you’re a child care provider, do you fear losing your job?
Fill out the survey below or e-mail us at [email protected] to share your thoughts. We may feature your response in a future article or on Boston.com social media channels.
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