Nevada lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation in Congress on Wednesday that would allow nonprofit child care providers to receive loans through the Small Business Administration to provide affordable care for working families.
Sen. Jacky Rosen and Rep. Susie Lee, both Nevada Democrats, filed similar bills in the Senate and House along with Republican co-sponsors Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Rep. Pete Stauber of Minnesota.
“Over half of American families live in a child care desert, meaning they have no access to affordable child care,” Lee said in a statement. “This bill will make it easier for nonprofit child care providers to access small business loans, and set up shop in child care deserts throughout this country.”
More than 3 million women were forced from the workplace during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Of those who left the workforce, 32 percent between ages 24 and 44 said they were pushed out because of a lack of child care, said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director of Seattle-based MomsRising, a national nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of moms and families.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made access to quality, affordable child care all the more difficult,” Rosen said, “hindering parents — particularly mothers — from taking part in our workforce.”
The pandemic has only worsened the availability of child care. In addition, the average cost of $10,000 per year makes it a difficult expense for parents who are seeking work, according to Rosen and Lee.
According to an Economic Policy Institute report last year, child care is one of the biggest expenses families face and it is unaffordable for the average Nevada family.
In Nevada, infant care alone costs $5,488 per year, roughly 93 percent more than in-state tuition for a four-year public college.
That makes Nevada one of 33 states and the District of Columbia where infant care is more expensive than college.
The bill filed in the House and Senate would make available loans from the SBA to nonprofit child care providers, equal to those available to for-profit businesses.
Nonprofit child centers seeking SBA loans would be subject to licensing standards in states that for-profit centers must also follow.