Many Arizona child care centers may raise prices after federal COVID-19 funding ends
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Beth Brantley is the owner of Bright Ideas Childcare in Tempe, one of many pre-schools and early childhood development centers that will be increasing their prices after federal funding to help the child care industry comes to an end. “We’re going to be forced to raise our rates, and with that, parents are going to have to choose: can they afford to go to work? Can they afford to stay home?” said Brantley. “This is going to happen in most households that have early childhood care.”
The massive COVID-19 stimulus package pumped more than $1.3 billion into Arizona’s child care industry to keep businesses from going out of business, and help parents keep working. But the much-needed assistance stopped rolling at the end of September, leaving child care centers in limbo, wondering how to make up for the lost revenue.
Bright Ideas received about $13,000-$14,000 a month. It was money Brantley said was used to hire quality staff members and provide a better wage. The nonprofit First Things First released a video to inform the public about the impact that not having the federal funding will have on Arizona families and businesses. “Child care is what allows parents to go to work,” said Angela Rabago with First Things First. “It allows businesses to have workers and investment in kids’ future, so child care really holds up every sector of our economy.”
President Joe Biden has requested another $16 billion in supplemental funding to help the child care industry nationwide, but so far, there’s been little movement in Congress to push the bill through. “The hope is that Congress recognizes the need,” said Brantley. “Because this affects whether or not parents can afford to go to work.”
Rabago said that Arizona does not currently provide any state subsidies for child care, which is why families and business owners will be urging the state Legislature to provide child care assistance during its next session.
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