Washington, DC – This week, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik introduced the Family Child Care Networks Act with Congressman Lloyd Smucker (R-PA). The legislation would allow states to repurpose child care funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to establish Family Child Care Networks, a proven solution that creates family child care providers in communities where options for working families are non-existent or limited.

Congresswoman Stefanik issued the following statement: “North Country working families greatly depend on child care providers while they earn a living, yet many of our communities do not have enough options for child care. The American Rescue Plan did not address this growing problem, failing to invest in long-term solutions that would increase the quantity of child care businesses, especially in rural communities. My legislation offers a proven solution by allowing states to invest in Family Child Care Networks that can create new child care providers and enhance the viability of these incredibly important small businesses in our local communities.”

“As parents are returning to work, the need for reliable, safe, and affordable childcare has never been greater. However, pumping tens of billions of dollars into the childcare system, like Congressional Democrats just did in President Biden’s “American Rescue Plan,” won’t solve the shortage long-term. We need to ensure dollars are being directed towards the creation of self-sustaining childcare networks that will continue to function effectively after the COVID-19 pandemic. I appreciate Rep. Stefanik’s leadership on this issue and appreciate the opportunity to work with her to create more child care options for families in need,” said Congressman Lloyd Smucker.

What is a Family Child Care Provider?

  • Family child care providers are small businesses that provide care for small groups of children in a home-based setting
  • They offer flexibility and convenience for parents seeking trusted care options, especially in rural communities
  • Family child care businesses are often operated by single providers, most often women
  • In recent years, the number of family child care providers has declined, diminishing options for working parents

What is a Family Child Care Network?

  • Family Child Care Networks offer a variety of services to family child care providers to support their business and enhance care
  • Family Care Networks promote quality improvement activities, facilitate healthy business practices, and utilize shared services to reduce operating costs for providers
  • The Department of Health and Human Services has highlighted Family Child Care Networks as a research-backed, quality improvement strategy to support family child care providers

How does the Family Child Care Network Act work?

  • This legislation would provide states the ability to repurpose unobligated child care funds from the American Rescue Plan and award them to Family Child Care Networks 
  • A Family Child Care Network may only receive funds if it delivers at least 2 of the 4 following services to family child providers:
    • Business practice or administrative support
    • Start-up resources for new family child care providers
    • Professional development and support obtaining advanced skills and credentials
    • Technical assistance, including related to health and safety standards, licensing, and participation in the CCDBG system
  • A Family Child Care Network may also provide additional services including peer networking and support, performance monitoring and improvement, recruitment of new family child care providers, community outreach to families and employers, collaborative purchasing, and technical assistance to support services during non-traditional hours or for children with specialized needs
  • States choosing to use this flexibility are required to prioritize supporting Family Child Care Networks in high need, underserved, and rural areas