February 08, 2023

Duckworth Joins Klobuchar and Sullivan in Introducing Bipartisan Legislation to Address the Shortage of Affordable Childcare


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today joined U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) in introducing bipartisan legislation to address the nationwide shortage of affordable childcare. The Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act would provide competitive grants for states to train childcare workers and build or renovate childcare facilities. Families across the country are struggling to access available childcare, with rural communities increasingly becoming “childcare deserts” due to the noticeable decline in the number of childcare providers. Companion legislation in the House of Representatives is led by U.S. Representative Josh Harder (D-CA).

“While costs of childcare skyrocket, access to quality, affordable options for working parents continues to dwindle, making it harder for them to re-join the workforce while also raising children among a bevy of other responsibilities,” said Duckworth. “Balancing it all can seem like an impossible task most days, which is one reason why I’m proud to work in a bipartisan way on this bill that would help tackle America’s childcare shortage and make trusted and affordable care more accessible for working families and their little ones.”

“For far too many parents, the struggle to find high-quality, affordable child care serves as a barrier preventing them from reentering the workforce,” said Klobuchar. “Our bipartisan legislation will train more child care workers and build and expand facilities in child care deserts, helping families in all parts of the country access the child care they need.”

“Access to quality, affordable child care is essential to a thriving economy, but the data overwhelmingly shows that access is severely limited in more rural parts of the country, like Alaska,” said Sullivan. “I hear repeatedly from working Alaska parents that this lack of affordable child care is among their top concerns. This challenge also disproportionately impacts mothers striving to re-enter the workforce. The legislation I’ve re-introduced with Senator Klobuchar will offer grants focused on states with the greatest need, enhance workforce development among child care professionals, and improve facilities that serve families in child care deserts.”

The Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act would:

  • Address the shortage of affordable childcare and qualified childcare professionals, particularly in rural areas
  • Provide competitive grants to states to support the education, training or retention of the childcare workforce
  • Provide competitive grants to states to build, renovate and expand childcare facilities in areas experiencing shortages
  • Require grant applicants to demonstrate how their projects would increase the availability and affordability of quality childcare and help childcare workers continue advance their careers and
  • Enhance retention and compensation of quality childcare professionals

Along with Duckworth, Klobuchar and Sullivan, the Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Senator Duckworth has been a steadfast advocate for parents and children. She secured the most significant expansion of paid parental leave for American troops in our nation’s history, writing the law that allows them to take up to 12 weeks to care for their child in the year following a birth or adoption, or placement of a minor child for foster care. With far too many Americans still having to choose between their careers and caring for  newborns or ailing loved ones, Duckworth is also pushing to ensure all working families have access to 12 weeks of paid leave and to help more families afford childcare. Duckworth’s bipartisan Friendly Airports for Mother’s (FAM) Act and FAM Improvement Act were signed into law to make traveling easier for nursing parents by requiring airports to provide clean, accessible, private rooms in every terminal for the first time, and President Biden also signed her bipartisan Safe Cribs Act to protect infants’ lives by banning the sale of padded crib bumpers. Also, Duckworth’s bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA) was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and it will help dramatically accelerate projects to remove dangerous lead pipes and protect countless children against permanent, irreversible brain damage from drinking lead-contaminated water.

Duckworth is also the author of the Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS) Reauthorization Act, which would help increase access to on-campus childcare for low-income student parents and ensure the U.S. Department of Education is meeting the needs of our student parent populations by permanently reauthorizing and fully funding the CCAMPIS program—the only federal program dedicated to supporting the needs of student parents and on-campus child care services. Last year, she secured a $10 million increase in CCAMPIS funding for a total of $65 million included in the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Omnibus signed into law by President Biden in March 2022.