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REPORT: States Struggle to Spend COVID Child-Care Funds

January 05, 2022

States have more child- care money than they know what to do with, yet, Democrats still recklessly insist on creating new duplicative “Birth to Five” and universal pre-k programs as part of the President’s $5 trillion tax- and- spend bill. Democrats’ Washington takeover of child care will mean even less choice for parents and drive costs even higher for middle class families.




According to new data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 20 states and territories reported in December they have been unable to use at least 50 percent of COVID child care stabilization funds provided last March, with 13 reporting they have used NONE of the funds.


The tables below show Congress has provided $54 billion in emergency child-care funding in just over a year – more than the entire revenue of the child-care industry in 2019. This additional spending was placed on top of the existing $20 billion federal early care and education funding. Democrats’ Build Back Better proposals would layer on a whopping $400 billion more over six years.


$50 Billion COVID Emergency Funding for Child Care (FY 2020-2021)

CARES Act, March 2020:
Child Care and Development Block Grant $3.5 billion
Head Start $750 million
Consolidated Appropriations Act, Dec. 2020:
Child Care and Development Block Grant $10 billion
Head Start $250 million
American Rescue Plan Act, March 2021: 
Child Care Stabilization Funds $24 billion
Increase Child Care and Development Block Grant $15 billion
Increase in Child Care Entitlement $633 million
TOTAL $54 billion


$20 Billion Existing Federal Funding for Early Care and Education (FY 2021)

Child Care and Development Block Grant $5.9 billion
Child Care Entitlement $2.9 billion
Head Start $10.7 billion
Preschool Development Grants $275 million
TOTAL $20 billion

$400 Billion Build Back Better “Birth to Five” and Pre-K Programs
(FY 2022-2027)

Birth through Five child-care entitlement $273 billion
Universal Pre-Kindergarten $109 billion
TOTAL $382 billion*

*CBO’s estimate includes a footnote explaining that the actual costs of the new programs would total closer to $400 billion absent a limitation placed on assumptions in reconciliation instructions.


CHALLENGES FOR FAMILIES: Federal funding for child care and early education in the United States already involves multiple programs with different eligibility requirements and quality standards. This creates challenges for families in navigating services, and can lead to overlap, gaps in services and wasteful spending.
WASHINGTON-CONTROLLED CHILD CARE: Instead of modernizing and streamlining existing federal programs in order to improve the overall quality of a mixed-delivery system, Democrats are proposing expensive new programs that give Washington, not parents, more control.
BARRIERS TO WORK: Millions of Americans want to return to work and must rely on child care to keep children safe and healthy through the work day. Democrats should stop making false promises and work with Republicans toward a sustainable, long-term solution.
In 2020, Republicans worked with Democrats on a bipartisan basis to provide additional funds for child care to support emergency responders and providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Despite concerns from Republicans that this relief money had not made its way down to local child-care providers and communities, Democrats insisted on blindly including an additional $40 billion in child care funding through the $2 trillion American Rescue Plan Act. The law required States to report to HHS what percentage of the $24 billion in Child Care Stabilization Funds had been obligated as of Dec. 11, 2021.
Letter: Biden Admin Delays Key Child Care Funds, Harming Families
November 18, 2021: Democrats Attack America’s Faith-Based Child Care Blog
November 2, 2021: Washington Control of Paid Leave & Child Care Strips Choice from Families and Harms Small Business
July 28, 2020: Child Care is Too Important for Dems to Politicize: Blog
June 16, 2020: Reed, Local Leaders Call Out Cuomo For Hoarding CARES Relief Funds to Child Care Facilities: Blog