LIIF Backs Bill to Provide Early Care and Education for America’s Children

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The 13 million families who seek access to safe, healthy child care, will have more options thanks to a new bill introduced today by Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and supported by the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF). The Child Care Facilities Financing Act of 2009 will channel millions of dollars to create quality child care facilities nationally by providing funds that allow community development financial institutions (CDFI) and other nonprofit lenders to provide low-cost loans and grants to child care providers. Through CDFIs, these funds will open the spigot on private resources as well, allowing for a larger total impact.

“This bill will improve the lives of low income children, perhaps the most important population LIIF supports,” said Nancy O. Andrews, LIIF’s President and CEO. “Creating a pool of funds to finance the development of child care facilities will allow CDFIs, like LIIF, to leverage private capital, creating more investment in our country’s children. LIIF would like to specifically thank Congresswoman McCarthy for her leadership on this legislation.”

Currently, the demand for early care and education services outstrips supply, particularly in low income communities. For example, it is estimated that of California’s four-year-olds one in five do not have access to adequate child care facilities in their neighborhood with the largest gap appearing in low income neighborhoods. Federal and state programs aimed at supporting early care and education, like Head Start, Early Head Start and the Child Care and Development Fund, often do not provide funding to create suitable physical spaces for children. Additionally, operators of these facilities generally have difficulty obtaining financing from traditional lenders. The Child Care Facilities Financing Act will address this need by creating a source of capital administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for acquisition, construction and upgrades to child care facilities and technical assistance for providers who need help navigating the often complex financing and construction process.

“This funding would be an incredible resource for early care and education operators around the country. In the markets that LIIF serves alone, approximately 39,000 child care sites serving over 400,000 children would directly benefit from this legislation,” said Edward Condon, LIIF’s Managing Director, National Child Development Programs.

In addition to providing suitable spaces in which children can learn and grow, increasing the number of child care facilities has economic benefits. The building and ongoing operations of the facilities create jobs and tax revenue. In New York, early care and education contributes $4.7 billion to the state’s economy and employs 119,000 people. Research also shows that money invested in early care and education results in significant societal savings later in welfare, juvenile justice and special education costs.

LIIF worked as part of the National Children’s Facilities Network (NCFN) to advocate for the populations served by this bill, “The coalition of NCFN members was critical in supporting the introduction of this bill,” noted Corey Carlisle, LIIF Director of Federal Policy and Government Affairs. “We look forward to continuing to work with our partners at NCFN and in Congresswoman McCarthy’s office on the passage of this act and furthering the interests of children across the country.”