Time for action: an investment in child care providers is an investment in children and families

Legislation has been introduced in the Maryland House and Senate calling for monthly payments to licensed child care providers who are willing and able to enroll children who receive a subsidy through the Child Care Scholarship Program (CCSP).

“Child Care Provider Stabilization Program – Established” is SB 873, led by Maryland State Senator Mary Washington and HB 868 led by Delegate Aletheia McCaskill. We thank them for really seeing the early childhood workforce and leading for investments that will help them to continue to be there for children and families.

On March 7 at our Joining Voices meeting, center directors, preschool teachers, and family child care leaders shared what it would mean to them to have monthly grants like this. We heard:

“It would help supplement my salary because enrollment is down. With this I could continue my health care.”

“I would use a large portion of it to reward my staff. They are the backbone of our program and they are worth investing in.”

“How wonderful that would be to have an additional $2,500 each month for our program. I would like to help teachers with professional development and continuing education. Cleaning supplies and supplies for teachers. The funds will help!”

“We would be able to increase salaries.”

Ready to email your State Delegates and State Senators?

  1. Open this word document and save it on your computer: template email re stabilization grants in Maryland
  2. Get the names and email addresses of your State Senators and State Delegates! Need help? Go to https://www.childresource.org/looking-up-your-maryland-state-senator-and-maryland-state-delegates/ for step by step instructions with pictures!
  3. If your State Delegate is Darryl Barnes, Nick Charles, Shaneka Henson – they need to hear from you now as they will get to vote on the stabilization grants bill in the House Ways and Means Committee.
  4. If your State Senator is Malcom Augustine, Bryan Simonaire, or Ron Watson – they need to hear from you now as they will get to vote on the stabilization grants bill in the Senate Education Committee.
  5. If your State Delegate or State Senator is not one of the ones named above, they are still important, and your action is still important. Please email your own State Senator and State Delegates!

 Action in the House Ways and Means Committee on March 1

Watch Delegate McCaskill (also a family child care provider!) explain the bill, and then hear testimony from family child care provider Crystal, several of our advocacy partners, and Mary Beth Testa from our team who testified on Zoom. Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvlJmch7Lyw and skip ahead to the 1 hour 18 minute mark to get started.

How would it work?

The idea is the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) would determine the amount of each grant award for each month, and award funding monthly, as follows:

  1. $2,500 for an eligible child care provider that has enrolled children who receive CCSP subsidies as long as there is:
    1. One child enrolled during the immediately preceding month
    2. Two children enrolled during two of the last three months OR
    3. Four children enrolled during four of the last six months
  2. $300 for an eligible child care provider that does not meet the above enrollment requirements that month.

Funds could be used for:

  • Cleaning and food supplies that are used directly in the provision of child care;
  • Employee wages, including bonuses;
  • Offsetting expenses paid by subsidized and unsubsidized clients;
  • Promotional materials used to promote the child care provider’s program and curriculum; and
  • Any other expenses directly related to the provision of child care, including capital projects.

Child care providers across Maryland know that the 2021 and 2022 stabilization grants made a difference. There’s more to be done. They need competitive wages, and funds for operations so that they can open each day and welcome the families counting on them.