Opinion: Child care the underpinning for our economic recovery

Last updated: 08-24-2020

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Opinion: Child care the underpinning for our economic recovery

The success of our nation returning to work and reviving our economy is wholly dependent on one industry – child care.

As Congress considers a stimulus package to breathe life into our pandemic recovery, it must include significant stabilization funding for an industry on the brink of collapse. Without a healthy, safe child care industry, parents will be unable to return to work, threatening their financial stability, the business success of their employer and the economic recovery our nation desperately needs.

Here in Greater Cincinnati, where United Way invested heavily in early education for more than two decades (at least $125 million in past 20 years), where we have a world-class Head Start program ($26 million annually), where the community passed the Preschool Promise levy ($15 million annually) to specifically support early childhood education, our hard work is threatened in the wake of a pandemic that led many child care operators to close and others to barely hang on, with lower enrollment rates, less revenue and increased expenses.

There is bipartisan support for child care stabilization. The House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill allocating $50 billion toward the effort. The Senate bill proposes $15 billion. We have agreement – just not on the amount. We believe our nation needs to invest a minimum of $50 billion. With less than that, over 50% of Ohio’s child care centers will close.

Safe child care must be a priority as we search for economic healing. "Without this industry’s survival and ability to safely care for the children of working parents, every other American industry will struggle to return to work," said the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America.

Let’s not go backwards, as a nation or as a Greater Cincinnati community. We prioritize safe early childhood education in this community and make significant investments toward its success. We cannot lose that progress.

Final negotiations are underway. Please reach out to your U.S. senators and representatives. Urge them to support safe child care – and in the process, support children, families, businesses and the economy.

Moira Weir is president and CEO of United Way of Greater Cincinnati. Chara Fisher Jackson is executive director and CEO of Cincinnati Preschool Promise. Mark Lawson is president and CEO of Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency. 

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