Governor Roy Cooper sent a letter to the North Carolina congressional delegation urging long-term recurring federal investment in quality child care.
“Quality child care is critical for supporting children’s education while making it possible for parents to work,” said Governor Cooper. “We know that the child care industry is facing enormous challenges finding teachers and keeping their doors open, so Congress must invest significantly to protect our children, our economy and our workforce.”
Congress provided one-time funding for child care during the pandemic, but as it ends, the need for recurring investment in child care is urgent. Since October 2021, 4,379 child care facilities in 99 counties in North Carolina have received funding totaling $835 million.
North Carolina’s under-resourced child care system is strained to its breaking point, which has impacted the economy. As of 2021, North Carolina had 3,120 fewer child care workers than the state would have if pre-pandemic employment trends had continued. Almost half of all working parents say the number of hours they can work has been compromised by lack of child care options, and one-fifth say they have had to leave the labor market entirely. A recent study estimated that the child care crisis costs North Carolina $3.5 billion each year in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue.
“North Carolina needs recurring federal investment in quality child care right now to keep our children learning and our economy growing. We need child care programs that can afford to stay open. We also need teachers who can afford to stay in the classroom,” wrote Governor Cooper in the letter.
Research shows that investment in high-quality early learning programs has a positive long-term effect on children’s education and well-being. The state has invested American Rescue Plan funds in child care to support North Carolina’s child care workforce. This investment is helping more than 4,000 child care programs stay open and boosting pay for more than 41,000 teachers and staff, but that funding is about to run out.
Governor Cooper urges the North Carolina congressional delegation to seek all available opportunities to make these recurring investments in child care for the state, economy and future.
Read Governor Cooper’s letter.