Bill Will Help Stabilize Virginia Child Care Providers
Today, the House passed Sen. Jennifer McClellan’s (D-Richmond) Child Care Stabilization and Quality Care bill (SB 1316). Sen. McClellan’s bill will invest in the Virginia child care industry by launching a new two-year pilot program creating flexibility in how federal subsidy dollars are used while also addressing staffing shortages by implementing portable background checks. The bill passed unanimously in the House and now heads to Governor Ralph Northam’s desk.
This bill will provide stability to the child care sector as Virginia continues to navigate the child care crisis due to COVID-19. The bill establishes a two-year pilot program that will move federal child care subsidy dollars to an enrollment based model. The pilot will also collect data to help capture the true costs of high-quality child care, and concurrently establish a VDOE School Readiness workgroup. The workgroup will evaluate the pilot and make recommendations for future quality child care practices in Virginia. Additionally, the bill implements the use of portable background checks, which will address critical staffing shortages that child care providers are currently facing.
“This is a huge step forward to invest in Virginia child care and early education and to stabilize businesses that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis,” Sen. McClellan said. “This bill will modernize Virginia’s child care system and provide financial and workforce stability for thousands of providers in Virginia. Child care is an economic issue – and it’s time that Virginia reinvest in our child care system. The bill will provide necessary support so child care providers can stay open and more parents can get back to work.”
“We are grateful for this innovative approach to how we reimburse providers for child care,” said Emily Griffey, Chief Policy Officer at Voices for Virginia’s Children. “The pilot effort to pay by enrollment and to pay for the true costs of providing services will stabilize the child care sector and allow for the flexibility to pay early educators the wages they deserve.”
“I am thankful to Sen McClellan for including portable background checks in this bill,” said Dr. Navine Fortune, an early educator in Norfolk. “Portable background checks will provide a cost-effective method to aid providers in their hiring practices.”
“Child care is vital infrastructure that keeps families, businesses, schools and communities running, yet the industry and its workforce are underfunded,” said Kathy Glazer, President of Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. “This bill strengthens Virginia’s child care system by ensuring stable funding through basic best business practices like contracting, identifying the true cost of quality care, and allowing for responsive staffing strategies. SB 1316 is an important starting point to build a stronger child care system for Virginia’s families.”
“I am sending my gratitude and appreciation to Senator McClellan, a true leader with a vision put into action,” said Monica Jackson, a family child care home provider. “Her unprecedented accomplishment establishes the foundation for stabilization and sustainability in the child care industry. 2020 has not been an easy year. It was a year to stop the review, restructure and rebuild.”
Jennifer McClellan was elected to the Senate of Virginia in 2017 after serving 11 years in the House of Delegates. She has been a leader on fighting climate change, strengthening public education and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, protecting voting rights, enacting criminal justice reform, combating domestic and sexual violence, and fighting discrimination of all kinds.