Some Idaho youngster care suppliers will shut Monday. They’ll march to remain open long run

BOISE (Idaho Statesman) – More than two dozen childcare companies in the Boise area will close their doors on Monday for staff to gather at the Idaho Capitol.

Earlier this month, Governor Brad Little recommended $ 99 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to the federal government to support the state childcare industry. Most of this money will go towards a block grant for childcare and development ($ 26 million) and grants to stabilize childcare ($ 70 million).

But these federal COVID-19 aid funds did not find their way through the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee.

Childcare workers fear that the funding will not be approved before the end of the legislative period, so that an already ailing industry will no longer have the opportunity to turn to it.

If they don’t push for funding now, some childcare companies across the state cannot stay open long-term, says Lori Fascilla, executive director of Giraffe Laugh Early Learning Centers. Giraffe Laugh is a local nonprofit that provides early care and education to young children.

“Over 200 centers in Idaho closed last year. That’s a big problem, ”Fascilla told the Idaho statesman. “We just want our lawmakers to know that we need these ARPA funds to continue building on our Idaho economy because if you have kids, you can’t work without childcare.”

Awaiting legislation awaiting a vote, House Bill 369 and Senate Bill 1212 will receive $ 34 million from the last federal aid package passed in December. However, that relief ends on December 31, 2021. No legislative action has been taken to accept the ARPA funding signed by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021.

Enrollment down, overhead up

“The vast majority of childcare workers in Idaho are small businesses that operate in normal times with low profit margins to accommodate as many families as possible,” said Emily Allen, a political contributor for Idaho Voices for Children, a nonprofit that worked in 2004 the aim was to promote public policy that focuses on childcare and child welfare legislation.

“Most providers were at a loss last year. Enrollment is declining, overheads remain high and these companies are struggling to hire qualified teachers. They can’t afford to pay more staff or their fees make it out of reach for families who are already struggling to pay for childcare. “

The $ 26 million allocated to childcare development is expected to be used in fiscal 2022 to support programs for children ages 13 and under. The money would support literacy and after-school programs like the Boys and Girls Club.

The $ 70 million childcare stabilization grants can be used by vendors to pay staff costs for each employee. Rent or pay a mortgage obligation; Pay for utilities, facility maintenance or upgrades, or insurance; for personal protective equipment, cleaning / disinfectant / services or training in health and safety practices; Purchase or update equipment and supplies to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency; Purchases of goods and services necessary to maintain or resume childcare; and psychological support for children and employees.

As of June 2020, around 7,918 families in Idaho were receiving some form of childcare, according to the Budget & Policy Analysis department of the Idaho Legislative Service Office.

“The childcare industry is an important and fundamental support for the Idaho economy,” said Betty McQuain, BYU-Idaho faculty member and former childcare worker, in a press release.

“The crisis in the childcare industry is also a crisis for Idaho’s economy. If employees lose access to quality childcare programs, it costs employers an estimated $ 414 million in absenteeism and turnover rates. Additionally, Idaho is losing an estimated $ 65.4 million in tax revenue. “

Giraffe Laugh’s Fascilla says she personally knows at least 25 owners who oversee 39 daycare centers that care for nearly 5,000 children in Treasure Valley and who have pledged to be at the Capitol on Monday. Many companies made the decision with the support of parents who rely on their services.

“As an industry, we need to work together to make sure our voices are heard,” said Fascilla. “We feel that this call to action could make it more tangible. This is what it looks like when there is no childcare. Because without this aid, Idaho is going in that direction. “

Comments are closed.