Soto Votes to Pass Legislation to Save Child Care in Florida

July 29, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09) voted to pass the Child Care is Essential Act and the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, bills to expand the availability of quality child care, help workers return to their jobs when it is safe and enable America’s economy to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

“COVID-19 has devastated the child care sector in Florida, forcing closures and exacerbating the shortage of quality, affordable care,” said Rep. Soto. “Without adequate investments in the child care industry, families across the country will be unable to return to work. Today I joined House Democrats in advancing legislation to provide relief for Floridian families and providers while supporting the safe reopening of our economy. Together we will save child care!” 

The Child Care is Essential Act will help child care providers & working families by:

  • Supporting Struggling Child Care Providers: The bill creates a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund within the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. 
  • Supporting Child Care Workers: Under the legislation, all providers would be required to continue to employ and pay their staff at the same compensation level as pre-COVID-19 as a condition of receiving stabilization grant funds.
  • Supporting Working Families: Under the legislation, all providers would be required to provide families with relief from copayments and tuition as a condition of receiving stabilization grant funds.
  • Improving the Safety of Child Care Facilities: Under the legislation, open providers would be required to meet health and safety guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local authorities and closed providers would have to provide an assurance that they will reopen their program when they are able to implement such guidance. Providers can use stabilization grant funds to purchase equipment and make modifications necessary to meet such guidance. 

The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act improves access to quality child care by:

  • Improving Tax Benefits for Families and Working Caregivers: The legislation will enhance the child and dependent care tax credit (CDCTC), expand the dependent care flexible spending accounts (FSA) and create a new tax credit to help employees access quality, affordable child care. 
  • Supporting Struggling Child Care Providers: The legislation will provide a new refundable payroll tax credit for child care providers and incentivizes employers to keep child care workers on payroll. 
  • Investing in Child Care: The legislation will: 
    • Increase funds for the Child Care Entitlement to States program to up to $10 billion per year for FY2020 – FY2024, and waives state match requirements for the additional funds for FY2020 and FY2021. 
    • Support family care for essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis by providing $850 million to states. 
    • Invest  $10 billion investment over the 2020-2024 period to improve child care facilities and infrastructure, both to address longstanding inadequacies of child care facilities and also to respond to the immediate infrastructure needs that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, including structural changes to facilitate social distancing and improve sanitation.

Summaries of both bills can be found here and here