U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, and Dan Sullivan, R-Ark. introduced the Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act to address the national shortage of affordable, quality child care, especially in rural communities.
While many families struggle to find access to available child care, states are continuing to experience a noticeable decline in the number of child care providers, leading to the expansion of "child care deserts." In the U.S. House of Representatives, a companion bill was introduced by Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash.
"Affordable, quality child care must be available to every family. Child care shortages across the country pose a moral and financial issue for communities when parents are forced to decide between working and staying at home with their children," Klobuchar stated in a news release. "Our bipartisan Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act will help ensure that every family has good options available to them when planning for their careers and their children."
"The lack of access to affordable, quality child care in rural America hurts not only families, but also employers. Our rural communities face many challenges and this bipartisan bill takes steps to ensure that these communities have the same access to child care as the folks living in urban areas," Peterson said in the release.
According to the release, the Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act would:
- Help to address the shortage of affordable child care and qualified child care professionals in Minnesota, particularly greater Minnesota.
- Provide competitive grants to states to support (1) the education, training, or retention of the child care workforce or (2) building, renovating, or expanding child care facilities in areas with child care shortages.
- Require applicants to address how their projects would increase the availability and affordability of quality child care, including during nontraditional hours.
- Help workers obtain portable, stackable credentials to foster increased mobility and opportunities for advancement in child care careers.
- Enhance retention or compensation of quality child care professionals.