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07/26/2021 02:46 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20210&cosponId=35832
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: June 9, 2021 09:47 AM
From: Senator Maria Collett and Sen. Judith L. Schwank
To: All Senate members
Subject: 21st Century Childcare
 
In the near future, we plan to introduce legislation to allocate $300 million of the Commonwealth’s allocation from the State Fiscal Relief Fund authorized through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to create a 21st century childcare system in Pennsylvania.  
 

Without high quality childcare, Pennsylvania’s economy and workforce suffer.  The pandemic exposed this reality as many childcare facilities shut down and parents and caregivers were forced to leave their employment to provide childcare.  These changes disproportionately impacted women in Pennsylvania’s workforce. 
 

According to a report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Pennsylvania’s economy loses $3.47 billion annually because of childcare issues.  The same report also found: 

  • Pennsylvania loses an estimated $591 million annually in tax revenue due to childcare issues. 
  • Absences and employee turnover cost PA employers an estimated $2.88 billion annually. 
  • 78% of surveyed parents rely on family members for at least some childcare. 
  • Approximately 9% of parents voluntarily left a job due to childcare issues. 
  • 55% of parents reported missing work due to childcare issues in the immediate 3 months preceding the report. 
  • 38% of parents postponed school or a training program due to childcare issues. 

The U.S. Treasury’s ARP guidance provides wide latitude for State governments to utilize their funds to address negative economic impacts of COVID-19 with a particular focus on low- and moderate-income jobs.  Additionally, the guidance has a specific focus on “children’s economic and family circumstances” and the “long-term impact on their future economic outcomes.”  Through this guidance, U.S. Treasury is providing us with the tools necessary to enhance childcare infrastructure and promote a stronger childcare work force. 
 

The pronounced negative economic impact, as outlined by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, provides us with opportunities to expand access to and increase quality programming at childcare facilities throughout the Commonwealth.  The U.S. Treasury, in its ARP guidance, recognized the need for increasing access and expanding quality childcare programming and expressly allows State Fiscal Relief Funds to be used for “new or expanded high-quality childcare to provide safe and supportive care for children.” 
 

Under our plan, the $300 million allotment for childcare infrastructure would be distributed by the Department of Human Services.  The funding would be allocated as follows: 

  • $100 million would be for pandemic recovery grants to childcare facilities to help them recoup losses sustained during the COVID-related mitigation period; 
  • $75 million would be available for childcare facilities to make necessary infrastructure upgrades relating to COVID-19;
  • $75 million would be for building the childcare workforce including recruitment, training, and professional development for workers at childcare facilities; and,
  • $50 million would be for increasing capacity and quality of programming.   

These funds will help our childcare providers recover from the pandemic and strengthen the childcare workforce. In turn, our providers will be able to reliably welcome and serve more students, allowing their parents to secure and maintain their own employment.
 

We hope you will join us in sponsoring this legislation.