Finkenauer and Bishop Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Help Childcare Businesses Start and Grow
Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) and Congressman Dan Bishop (R-NC) on Friday introduced the Convening Operations Assistance for Childcare Heroes (COACH) Act, bipartisan legislation creating an easy-to-access federal resource guide to help childcare providers start and grow their small businesses.
"Hardworking Iowa families need better access to quality and affordable childcare, but starting a new daycare takes a lot of entrepreneurial know-how," Congresswoman Finkenauer said. "The COACH Act will help trained and experienced childcare providers in our communities with the technical parts of getting a new business off the ground by making federal, state and local resources easier to find and easier to use."
"This bill is a critical step toward addressing the childcare crisis holding back working families in big cities, small towns and all across America and is critical to getting our economy back on track," Finkenauer said. "I'm proud to join Congressman Bishop in offering a bipartisan solution to a pressing problem."
The COACH Act would require the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), state-level lead childcare agencies, and local childcare resource and referral agencies to create a resource guide on how childcare providers can start and grow their small businesses.
The guide, updated at least every five years, would be publicly accessible and widely distributed. The COACH Act would also require the SBA's resource partners -- small business development centers, women's business centers, veterans business outreach centers, and SCORE -- to reach out to child care small businesses to make them aware of the guide and other resources tailored to their industry.
"Americans rely on childcare facilities to enable our economy," Congressman Dan Bishop (R-NC) said. "When we provide childcare businesses with necessary resources and information, we can grow small businesses that allow our workforce to thrive. I thank Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer for leading this important effort."
The COACH Act is also cosponsored by Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA), Pete Stauber (R-MN), Angie Craig (D-MN), Ann Wagner (R-MO), and John Moolenaar (R-MI).
The legislation has been endorsed by the Black Hawk County Child Care Coalition, Child and Family Policy Center, Council for a Strong America, Early Care & Education Consortium, Exceptional Persons, Inc. (Child Care Resource and Referral of NE Iowa host agency), First Five Years Fund, Iowa Citizens Action Network, Main Street Alliance, Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), and Small Business Majority.
Quotes of Support for the COACH Act
"The COACH Act will provide a wonderful resource for childcare providers, increasing community capacity of quality, affordable, licensed child care while providing needed sustainable business funding startup opportunities."
-- Dan Levi of the Black Hawk Child Care Coalition.
"Iowans understand the vital role childcare plays in the lives of families -- and that our state's childcare industry was facing challenges even before the COVID-19 crisis. Helping childcare providers build a strong business not only helps the providers themselves, but also Iowa children, their families and the communities they live in. The Child and Family Policy Center supports this bill and encourages Iowa's entire delegation to get behind it.
-- Anne Discher, Executive Director of the Child and Family Policy Center in Iowa.
"The child care industry is comprised of many small and micro businesses--many run by women and women of color--that are on the brink of collapse and may never reopen. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that many of these small business owners do not have the resources to explore various programs that might help them run and grow their business. To that end, the COACH Act is a commonsense proposal that will help these child care businesses navigate the federal resources available to help their businesses succeed and expand.
-- Radha Mohan, Executive Director of the Early Care & Education Consortium.
"Exceptional Persons Inc. (Child Care Resource and Referral of NE Iowa host agency) supports the COACH Act. We feel this will create strong collaboration between agencies that will support business startup within the child care community and only strengthen our communities."
--Mary Janssen, Children and Family Services Director of Exceptional Persons, Inc.
"Even in the best of times, child care providers often operate on razor-thin margins, but as these essential small businesses struggle to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear they need assistance. Making child care specific, small business resources accessible to providers could mean the difference between staying open and permanently closing, and our communities need these businesses open now more than ever. The COACH Act is a great opportunity to ensure child care providers are getting the resources and support they need from the Small Business Administration to grow and strengthen their business, and we are grateful for Congresswoman Finkenauer for introducing it. FFYF is committed to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to find innovative solutions to address the growing child care crisis and prevent child care facilities from closing their doors for good."
--Sarah Rittling, Executive Director of First Five Years Fund
"Now that many parents are returning to work, they need the assurance that, particularly during this pandemic, their childcare programs are safe and stable. The COACH Act would provide resources specific to child care providers to help them navigate the financial, legal and training issues needed to be successful. Iowa Citizen Action Network applauds Representative Finkenauer for recognizing that while many child care providers are small businesses, they also have unique needs, which will be addressed by the COACH Act."
-- Sue Dinsdale, Executive Director of Iowa Citizens Action Network.
"Child care providers are small businesses indispensable to our children, community, economy and future. That's why SCAN applauds Congresswoman Finkenauer for introducing this important piece of legislation, enabling child care 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 child care providers, but also the fragility and susceptibility of such small businesses. Therefore, this piece of legislation couldn't come at a better time."
-- E.J. Wallace, Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) Iowa State Manager.
"We applaud Congresswoman Finkenauer for introducing the COACH Act to help small childcare businesses during this difficult time. 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."
--John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority. "
As a member of the House Small Business Committee, Finkenauer is a strong advocate for affordable and quality childcare options and hardworking Iowa families. She has led numerous efforts to address the crisis and ensure Iowans' voices are being heard in Congress.
Some of Finkenauer's work includes:
Introducing the Child Care is Essential Act to improve childcare options for Iowans and ensure providers have the resources to weather the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Leading ahearing on the importance of improving access to affordable and quality childcare. Video of the hearing is available here.
Joining several members of the Small Business Committee in introducing the bipartisan Small Business Child Care Investment Act.
Introducing R 3986, the Child Care Protection Improvement Act of 2019, to improve the completion of background checks for childcare providers who receive funding through the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and supported the Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act, which addresses the shortage of affordable, quality childcare through competitive grants to states.