Skip to content
CityLab
Economy

Where Is the American Child Care Bailout?

Daycare providers and early learning centers warn they’ll go out of business — at a cost to children, parents and the economy — unless governments step in with funding.

Hang in there, baby: The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a financial crisis for child care centers across the U.S.: Two out of five say they’ll close permanently without assistance. 

Hang in there, baby: The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a financial crisis for child care centers across the U.S.: Two out of five say they’ll close permanently without assistance. 

Photographer: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg

Ellicia Lanier, 39, executive director of Urban Sprouts Child Development Center in University City, Missouri, outside St. Louis, considers herself one of the lucky ones. A Black mother of seven whose interest in early childhood development led her to start a nonprofit early learning center, she’s fought to keep her business afloat amid the punishing economic currents of the coronavirus crisis. 

“There is no economic recovery without child care, that’s the best way to put it,” she says. “As a nation, we haven’t realized how critical child care is to all facets of our lives.”