WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05), along with Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08) and Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), introduced the Convening Operations Assistance for Childcare Heroes (COACH) Act on Friday, which was Child Care Provider Appreciation Day. This bipartisan bill requires the U.S. Small Business Administration to collaborate with federal and state childcare agencies to create a resource guide for childcare providers detailing business best practices, empowering childcare small businesses to start and sustain their operations.
“Childcare is infrastructure and childcare professionals, many of whom are women of color, are essential workers,” said Congresswoman Williams. “The COACH Act will deliver resources to hardworking childcare providers and allow their businesses to thrive. Keeping childcare facilities open will help make childcare more accessible to communities and help families put food on the table as the economy reopens as we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m proud to lead this bill with Reps. Stauber and Chu to give our childcare workers the support and resources they need, which in turn helps parents get to work with the confidence their children are receiving the best care possible.”
“Childcare is a pillar of a functioning economy as working parents from every sector rely on their services,” said Congressman Stauber. “Yet, access to affordable, high-quality, and reliable childcare is far too often out of reach for many families across our communities. That’s why I am proud to support legislation that will help coach childcare professionals in starting new businesses or growing a current one, ensuring that more parents are not forced to make career sacrifices.”
“Childcare providers are essential to our economy,” said Congresswoman Chu. “Access to quality care makes it possible for working parents to go to their jobs and it puts our children on a path to being higher earners as adults. And that’s why I want to make sure these businesses have the same support we give to other small businesses. It doesn’t matter if you’re a restaurant or a day care, the Small Business Administration has resources and tools to help you grow, which is a benefit to all of us. With this bill we can ensure more of these resources are available to more childcare providers, which will hire more caretakers while putting more parents back to work.”
Childcare facility owners are often first-time business owners or sole proprietors who are experienced with child health and safety but may need assistance on the administrative side to help their businesses thrive. The challenges these business owners face were magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COACH Act is supported by several Georgia-based childcare organizations.
“The vast majority of Georgia’s 3,200 childcare centers are smaller, independently owned businesses who could benefit tremendously from the SBA resources that would be created under Congresswoman Williams’ legislation,” said Ellen Reynolds, CEO of Georgia Child Care Association. “The GCCA proudly supports this legislation and Congresswoman Williams’ efforts to strengthen these small businesses.”
“Childcare is an essential business that ensures that parents can work while their children are in safe environments in which they can learn,” said Mindy Binderman, Executive Director of Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students. “This legislation will help support childcare providers to not only love and nurture the children in their care but also run efficient and sustainable small businesses.”
“Most children in childcare attend small, community-based programs that are in fact small businesses,” said Pam Tatum, President and CEO of Quality Care for Children. “The ability of these programs to provide the quality early care and learning that children need and support working families in their communities depends in part on their ability to manage the business aspects of their programs effectively and efficiently. The business resources and supports Quality Care for Children has provided in recent years have been a lifeline to providers, especially during this pandemic. A federal investment in the business aspects of childcare would be welcomed by providers and the organizations that serve them.”
Several national childcare organizations also support the COACH Act.
“The childcare industry is largely comprised of small businesses—many run by women of color—that need help accessing resources to run and grow their business,” Radha Mohan, Executive Director of the Early Care & Education Consortium. “To that end, the COACH Act is a commonsense proposal that will help these businesses better navigate and utilize federal resources. Helping childcare providers with the technical aspects of running a small business will allow providers to focus on delivering high-quality care and education to children and families.”
“Even in the best of times, childcare providers operate on razor-thin margins, but as these essential businesses struggle to recover from the tremendous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear they need support,” said Sarah Rittling, Executive Director of First Five Years Fund. “Making small business-specific resources accessible to childcare providers could mean the difference between serving a community for years and permanently closing, and our communities need these businesses open now more than ever. The bipartisan COACH Act is a great opportunity to ensure childcare providers are getting the resources and opportunities they need from the Small Business Administration to run a successful business, and we are grateful to Congresswoman Williams, Congressman Stauber, and Congresswoman Chu for introducing it. FFYF is committed to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to find innovative solutions to build a childcare system that ensures working families have access to the care they need.”
“Safe, affordable, quality childcare is a foundation for economic recovery,” Stephen Michael, Executive Director of Main Street Alliance. “Even before COVID, we were in a childcare crisis, directly impacting small business owners and their employees. Now more than ever, it is important to invest in our care infrastructure and develop long-term resources and technical assistance for this industry. Childcare providers, like many small businesses, need up-to-date technical support on issues from financing to safety — to start and grow their businesses. Main Street Alliance supports the COACH Act and believes providing technical assistance guides to small childcare providers is one piece of urgent support needed to shore up the childcare industry as we continue through the pandemic and beyond.”
“Childcare providers are small businesses indispensable to our children, community, economy and future,” said Roy Chrobocinski, Director of Federal Government Relations at Save the Children Action Network. “That’s why SCAN applauds Congresswoman Williams for introducing this important piece of legislation, enabling childcare providers to have the necessary tools, resources and support-systems to achieve lasting success. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted not only the vital importance of childcare providers, but also the fragility and susceptibility of such small businesses. Therefore, this piece of legislation couldn’t come at a better time.”
“We applaud Congresswoman Williams for introducing the COACH Act to help small childcare businesses,” said John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority. “Childcare is an important industry for solo- and micro-business owners, particularly for those who are just starting out on their entrepreneurial journeys, and they need more resources and support in operating their businesses. This is particularly important now as the childcare sector has been hit hard by COVID-19. By providing industry-specific guidance for these business owners, we can ensure they are better positioned for success.”