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Press Releases - County Council

Council Vice President Albornoz and Councilmember Navarro to Introduce Small Business Matching Grant Program for Child Care

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Program will help Montgomery businesses attract talent

ROCKVILLE, Md., Oct. 19, 2021—Today Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz and Councilmember Nancy Navarro will introduce Bill 38-21, Economic Development Fund – Local Business Child Care Grant Program, which will provide an incentive to help Montgomery County’s small businesses attract talent while also expand access to quality childcare. Council President Tom Hucker and Councilmembers Sidney Katz, Andrew Friedson and Hans Riemer are cosponsors.

“As we continue to navigate and recover from a global pandemic, one thing is clear. Our local workforce is the future of our county’s economic success,” said Council Vice President Albornoz, who also serves as chair of the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee. “This is why we are partnering with local businesses to attract and retain talented professionals by expanding access to quality childcare. These investments are key to foster economic development, alleviate stress for working families and ensure business success across our county and region.”

“To succeed and maintain our competitive edge as a nation, children and their families need access to quality early care and childhood education,” said Councilmember Navarro, who is chair of the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee. “By investing in our children, we are making a commitment to the success of our country and our county. This is why I authored a framework that became the County’s Early Care and Education Initiative. It provides a four-year action plan, and part of this plan is to identify and resolve barriers to expansion, access and sustainability of quality childcare in the County, including workforce supports. Bill 38-21 is another tool in the toolbox, as we work towards the design and implementation of a high-quality early care and education system in the County.”

Bill 38-21 provides that local businesses with less than 50 employees would be eligible to receive grants of up to 50 percent of the annual amount of childcare contributions paid by the local businesses to employees who earn less than $125,000. Resources would be provided through the County’s Economic Development Fund. Reporting data would be provided to the Council on an annual basis to evaluate the impact of the grant program.

This measure is part of both Montgomery County’s Economic Development Platform and the Early Care and Education Initiative. Each of these overarching plans were spearheaded by Councilmember Navarro and supported by Council Vice President Albornoz and the full Council. The goal of this grant program will be to help attract and retain businesses in the County. In addition, providing childcare assistance will benefit residents across the entire workforce development continuum and expand early care and educational opportunities.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, “Lack of access to quality and affordable childcare is a significant barrier that limits the supply of talent. Companies that take an active role in helping their employees secure these services generate billions of dollars a year in revenue due to increase workforce participation.”

The foundation also found that each dollar spent on high-quality childcare sees returns of $16 and that turnover because of a lack of childcare costs businesses 20 percent of an hourly employee’s salary and up to 150 percent of a manager’s salary.

The Council staff report for Bill 38-21 can be found here.

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Additional Information on the Economic Impact of Inadequate Child Care in our Region

Affordable, quality childcare is not only important to parents, it is critical to the success of businesses. A 2020 report by the Maryland Family Network (MFN), “Caring During COVID: The Impact of the Pandemic on Maryland Child Care Providers,” noted that over two-thirds of childcare providers reported losing revenue, with losses reaching as high as $51 million as of May 15, 2020. Over half of providers said they expected to close permanently.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic worsened access to equitable and affordable childcare for families, it was already an existing problem prior to the public health crisis, with equally stunning ramifications for businesses. A 2018 report by MFN titled “Counting Our Losses – The Hidden Cost to Marylanders of an Inadequate Child Care System” found that absences and turnover due to child care issues for parents with children age five and under cost Maryland employers approximately $2.41 billion, reduced the State’s economic output by $1.28 billion, and reduced Maryland tax revenue by $117 million in 2016. According to the report, nearly 50 percent of working Maryland parents experienced a short-term disruption in employment due to childcare issues.

The annual cost of childcare in Montgomery County according to Child Care Aware of America 2018 report, ranges from approximately $13,000 for home-based care to $19,000 for center-based care a year. For infants and children up to four years of age, the cost is approximately $25,000 for home-based care to $33,000 for center-based care a year. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that childcare should consume no more than seven percent of a family’s income.

Release ID: 21-407
Media Contact: Lillian Cruz, 240-777-7881 , Roland Ikheloa 240-777-7824
Categories: Gabe Albornoz, Nancy Navarro