May 26, 2021 by Isabella Colello

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — This week, two U.S. Representative introduced new legislation which would aim to establish family child care networks across the country.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Congressman Lloyd Smucker have introduced the Family Child Care Networks Act to the United States House of Representatives.

According to Stefanik, this legislation would allow individuals states to repurpose child care funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to establish Family Child Care Networks.

The proposed legislation describes these networks with the ability to offer a variety of services to family child care providers, promote quality improvement activates, facilitate healthy business practices. Additionally, by utilizing shared services, operating costs could be reduced.

Additionally, Stefanik confirmed that Family Child Care Network’s could receive funding if it delivers a minimum of two of the following services to family child providers:

Family Child Networks could also provide additional services such as peer networking and support, performance monitoring and improvement, recruitment of new family child care providers, community outreach to families and employers, collaborative purchasing, and technical assistance to support services during non-traditional hours or for children with specialized needs.

Stefanik labeled this legislation as a “proven solution,” and has the potential to establish child care providers in communities where such care is limited or not available.

“North Country working families greatly depend on child care providers while they earn a living, yet many of our communities do not have enough options for child care,” stated Stefanik. “The American Rescue Plan did not address this growing problem, failing to invest in long-term solutions that would increase the quantity of child care businesses, especially in rural communities. My legislation offers a proven solution by allowing states to invest in Family Child Care Networks that can create new child care providers and enhance the viability of these incredibly important small businesses in our local communities.”

Congressman Smucker added, “As parents are returning to work, the need for reliable, safe, and affordable childcare has never been greater. However, pumping tens of billions of dollars into the childcare system, like Congressional Democrats just did in President Biden’s “American Rescue Plan,” won’t solve the shortage long-term. We need to ensure dollars are being directed towards the creation of self-sustaining childcare networks that will continue to function effectively after the COVID-19 pandemic. I appreciate Rep. Stefanik’s leadership on this issue and appreciate the opportunity to work with her to create more child care options for families in need.”

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