Child care is in crisis in America, and Rep. Katherine Clark says she’s fighting to fix it.

Around 40% of child care providers say they’ll be forced to permanently close without more public assistance in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report published by the National Association for the Education of Young Children this week. For minority-owned facilities, that figure rises to 50%. Over 325,000 child care workers have lost their jobs since February.

Clark, who serves Massachusetts’ 5th congressional district, introduced a bill last month seeking $10 billion to help child care facilities renovate and rebuild. It was included in a sweeping $1.5 trillion infrastructure act passed by the House on July 1. Clark discussed the importance of child care on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Thursday.

“Child care is essential and it is part of our economic and educational infrastructure,” Clark said. “But unfortunately, we have not treated it like that. And now with this pandemic, the results of that underinvestment are becoming so apparent. We simply cannot have a healthy economy and make sure that our children are reaching their full opportunity without stabilizing and investing in the child care sector,” Clark said.

Clark mentioned that nearly all child care providers are women — with many being women of color — and that mothers are disproportionately affected when child care is insufficient.

“These issues are essential to how we meet this moment in our country’s history, how we look at racial justice, how we look at equality, and how we make sure that our families are safe and able to access education and childcare for their kids,” Clark said.

Like fellow Massachusetts representative Ayanna Pressley, Clark also rebuked Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her demands to reopen schools.

“She wants to open schools, but she doesn’t want to look at how we are going to protect teachers, families, children,” Clark said. “She doesn’t want to look at the data around this pandemic. She wants to sweep all of that under the rug and say, ‘We are going to open schools, and we frankly don’t care what happens to the people involved with education.'”


Original story here.