CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Senator Ed Markey’s visit at the Valley Opportunity Council in Chicopee comes at a time where the federal government is set to distribute more federal funding to boost child care programs, through the American Family Plan.
“The American Family Plan is another $2 trillion, so we can vastly expand family leave policies, child leave policies, and we see families as part of the infrastructure of our country,” said Senator Markey.
Through this package, the government would invest over $225 billion to support low and middle income families. However, there are still unknowns on which local child care centers would receive the funding.
Valley Opportunity Council in Chicopee has received $15 million in COVID-19 relief funding since the pandemic started. But they are still experiencing many issues so they’re looking forward to this federal money and determining how to spend it.
“We have been operating at a point where we have lost $60,000 a month to stay open, so we are very excited about this money being able to make us whole throughout the years,” said Steve Huntley of Executive Director, Valley Opportunity Council.
Markey emphasized that it’s an investment, that he says will pay off in the long-run, since it’ll get the economy back on track. The American Families Plan will help families cover the basic expenses that so many struggle with by lowering health insurance premiums, and ensure that low and middle income families spend no more than seven percent of their income on child care.
Efforts to provide childcare costs have grown since the coronavirus pandemic. On April 28, President Biden signed into law the $225 billion American Families Plan. The plan will save the average family $14,800 per year on child care expenses and allow roughly one million parents, primarily mothers, to enter the labor force.
Friday is National Provider Appreciation Day, also know as National Child Care Provider Day, that recognizes the educators of young kids. It was started in 1996 by a group of volunteers in New Jersey that saw the tireless efforts of providers for children of working parents.