News Release

Federal Funding Ends for Child Care


For Vox, Rachel Cohen notes that news organizations have repeatedly cited an estimate from the Century Foundation that 70,000 child care programs would likely close after pandemic-era federal funding for child care ran out at the end of September. “The Biden administration,” Cohen writes, “has reported that the [American Rescue Plan] grants helped 80 percent of [U.S.] licensed child care centers stay afloat.”

    Bruenig is the founder of the People’s Policy Project.

Bruenig told the Institute for Public Accuracy that the underlying math behind the Century Foundation’s report is “not very reliable,” as it relies on self-reported data from child care program directors who said their program would close without the federal funding they received. “I am not against providing subsidies to child care centers,” Bruenig said, “but this is just not a very plausible way of assessing how child care centers will fare going forward.” 

Experts still don’t know how child care will fare going forward. Bruenig added: “In my view, [these] questions mostly revolve around labor costs. The tight labor market has pushed pay up for low-wage jobs and this will increase cost pressures on child care centers, which they will need to pass through to parents who may not be able to afford them. Through this tight-labor-market mechanism, I think it’s plausible that some segment of current child care arrangements will become unaffordable and therefore non-viable without government subsidy.

“I would like to see the government fully subsidize all child care spots in the country so that there are no child care fees charged to parents. We do this for K-12 education and there is no reason we cannot do it for birth-pre-K.”