The Providence Business News has published a powerful commentary piece, “Threat to child care sector is far-reaching,” by Dr. Pamela High and Anna Aizer of Brown University on the critical need for our state and federal leaders to invest in child care.

To ensure that our child care sector survives to support Rhode Island’s working families, these rate increases and payment practices must be made permanent. The Child Care Relief Fund should be expanded to help more providers with staffing costs, including programs that serve middle-income families not eligible for assistance but unable to pay the full cost of quality care. In addition, we should implement recommendations from Rhode Island’s Infant/Toddler Educator Task Force, that the state offer a wage enhancement to attract and retain qualified early educators in child care programs.

While Rhode Island is facing a difficult budget environment, any cuts to state child care funding would be shortsighted, threatening the supply of child care slots at precisely the time they are needed most.

At the federal level, Congress must act to pass the Child Care Is Essential Act, a $50 billion infusion of aid to stabilize the child care industry that would bring over $100 million to Rhode Island for this essential work.

There will be no robust recovery without a strong system of child care. That is why now is the time for our state and Congressional leaders to support working families and young children by investing in our nation’s critical child care infrastructure.