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3.2 Million Children Expected to Lose Child Care

Two women hold small child between them.

At the end of last month, $39 billion in federal child-care funds made available through the American Rescue Plan Act expired––and, as a result, more than three million children across the nation are expected to lose child care, with more than 70,000 child care programs likely to close.

The Century Foundation (TCF), an Education grantee partner, released these numbers and more in a report in June 2023, the first-ever economic analysis projecting the impact of the cutoff for children, families, and state economies. Other important findings include: 1) the loss of childcare spots will be due to price increases, staffing shortages, and program closures; 3) due to parents reducing work hours or leaving the workforce to care for their children, TCF predicts a loss of earnings of $9 billion each year for families; 3) the child care workforce will likely lose another 232,000 jobs; and 4) the loss in tax and business revenue is expected to cost states $10.6 billion in economic activity per year.

Citing TCF’s data, Education Program Officer Dr. Rebecca Gomez recently laid out how Congress’ inaction on federal child care funding will affect everyone who works for or relies on child care across the country. In her op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Gomez urged Congress to recognize “early education as essential infrastructure for our success as a nation” and “to invest in it accordingly.”

“Child care is a linchpin of our economy and modern society, and understanding that early education is essential infrastructure illuminates a path forward,” Rebecca wrote. “We are a nation of builders — we lifted the country out of a Depression in the 1930s by building bridges, ensured economic growth in the 1950s by creating an interstate highway system, and in 2021 passed a law to fund clean energy, broadband access and other infrastructure. We can in turn build an equitable, affordable and high-quality early education system in this country.”

Read The Century Foundation’s full report here, and Dr. Gomez’s op-ed here.

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