Child Care Stabilization grant set to expire; some SWLA childcare workers not happy

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 7:07 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Federal grants for childcare providers are set to expire at the end of this month, and according to senators trying to extend the funding, approximately 3.2 million kids could lose their spot in childcare, with 70,000 programs expected to close.

“Everything that is put into childcare, every dime that this child care center makes, and I’m pretty sure everyone else child care, it goes right back into childcare. It’s not like we live lavish lives, none of us,” said New Beginnings Director Bridgette Smith.

The federal grants provided over the last two years have helped childcare business significantly.

“Ms. Michelle used it mostly for the employees and to get better things for the childcare center itself. We were able to buy all our supplies, we were able to give bonuses, we were able to enrich some of their lives through different activities she had us do. We got new play equipment outside, and it just allows us to stay afloat comfortably,” Smith said.

Smith said they have been able to provide two hot meals a day along with multiple snacks to their children, but without the grant funding, she said things may change.

“We would get to a place where we would limit what we buy for them. right now it fresh fruit, it’s puddings, applesauce, it different things, but we might have to just do another route of it, or we might have to cut back a little but. I would hate to do that, I mean at the end of the day, we have to be ready for the next day,” she said.

Back in 2021 under the American Rescue Act, almost $24 billion went to Child Care Stabilization grants.

“The childcare center has never been adequately funded or resourced. What happened during the pandemic was that it really made clear that this system was fragmented and really insufficient, “said Julie Morita, executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

According to the Associated Press, a new round of funding is being introduced in Congress that would provide $16 billion a year over the next five years, but in the event it fails, childcare providers must prepare for the worst.