A Recent State Report Labeled Nevada A “Child Care Desert,” Finds Nearly 75 Percent Of Children Under Age Of Five Don’t Have Access To Licensed Child Care Providers
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), the committee’s Ranking Member, introduced the Small Business Child Care Investment Act. This bipartisan legislation would increase the availability of affordable, high-quality child care to working families by allowing non-profit child care providers that qualify as small businesses to participate in Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs. This legislation is also co-sponsored by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).
A recent report labeled the entire state of Nevada as a “child care desert,” and found that nearly 75 percent of children below the age of five don’t have access to a licensed child care provider. The report deemed the cost of child care a “huge concern” in Nevada and found it often to be more expensive than college tuition. It also attributed the lack of affordable and accessible child care to the worker shortage that Nevada businesses report experiencing.
“With skyrocketing costs and a lack of affordable child care options, hardworking Nevada families are being squeezed and forced to make the difficult choices, which sometimes include women leaving the workforce,” said Senator Rosen. “This bipartisan, bicameral legislation will help increase affordable child care options by ensuring that non-profit child care centers can access the resources needed to thrive. I will continue fighting in the Senate to lower costs for hardworking Nevada families.”
“When traveling from river to river in Iowa, I consistently hear that access to quality, affordable childcare is a workforce barrier for our growing communities,” said Senator Ernst. “This bipartisan, commonsense solution will increase childcare options and lessen the burdens on working families by expanding opportunities for providers, including religious non-profits.”
“United Way of Southern Nevada is a long-standing partner of Nevada Ready! Pre-K which allows hundreds of children from qualifying families to attend preschool at no cost. We have seen firsthand the positive impact that affordable high-quality care and education options have provided not only for our children, but entire families,” said Julian High, President and CEO of United Way of Southern Nevada. “The Small Business Child Care Investment Act allows non-profit childcare and early education providers to grow their capacity so they can meet the needs of working families in Nevada. We are very grateful for this partnership that will help improve the lives of those in our beloved community and state.”
“Given the childcare desert in northern Nevada, any assistance that will help more people open or sustain their childcare operations will be most beneficial,” said Ann Silver, CEO of the Reno & Sparks Chamber of Commerce. “Without adequate and affordable childcare, parents or guardians can’t work. And when they can’t work, they can’t afford the basic necessities. It’s an endless loop of generational poverty, children without adequate literacy skills, and behavioral health issues.”
“Access to child care is one of the primary barriers preventing the potential workforce from converting to the active workforce in our region,” said Mary Beth Sewald, President and CEO of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. “In this time of staffing shortages, The Vegas Chamber supports initiatives including the Small Business Child Care Investment Act that will increase the availability of child care to parents who without it are precluded from taking good jobs with the employers of our region.”
Currently, non-profit child care providers do not have the same access to the types of SBA loans that for-profit providers do:
- Under current law, only certain non-profit child care providers may apply for the SBA’s microloan program, which is capped at $50,000 and cannot be used to purchase real estate or for existing debts. Other SBA loan programs are off-limits to non-profit child care providers, even if they are small businesses that would otherwise be eligible for access to capital programs if they were a for-profit entity.
- For-profit providers can access the larger and more flexible loan programs like the 7(a) and 504 programs that can range up to $5.5 million in capital support and can be used for real estate, construction, remodeling, and other expenses critical to maintaining and expanding high-quality child care operations.
The bipartisan Small Business Child Care Investment Act would:
- Ensure that qualified non-profit providers have equal access to key SBA loan options that allow providers to invest in and expand their operations, which creates local jobs and gives working families more options for affordable and quality child care;
- Ensure non-profit providers can access the larger and more flexible loan programs like 7(a) and 504 that can be used for real estate, construction, remodeling, and other expenses critical to maintaining and expanding high-quality child care operations.
The bipartisan Small Business Child Care Investment Act is endorsed by the National Head Start Association, the Child Care Aware of America, First Five Years Fund and the Military Family Association.