DALLAS (CBSNewsTexas.com) — Billions of dollars in pandemic-era federal funding for child care centers is set to expire at midnight Saturday, Sept. 30.
CBS News Texas spoke to the owner of a Dallas child care center and a parent whose children attend the center about what the loss of funding will mean for other centers and families.
"I'm a working parent without child care, I'm unable to work because there's no one to watch my children," said Keshun Davis, a mom-of-four from Dallas.
Three of Davis' children attend Pace and Ross Learning Center in South Oak Cliff.
"We need our children here, Pace and Ross is a staple in the community," she said.
Brenda Pace is the owner. Her center has been serving families in the community for 30 years. It is one of more than 200,000 child care providers across the country that received $24 billion in federal funding during the pandemic.
"I have a passion for what we're doing, so we want to stay sustainable," said Pace. "We were able to do repairs, needed repairs many times...a lot of us are working on a shoestring budget."
The funding also made child care more affordable for parents like Davis.
"We were able to not pay any copays, so that helped us tremendously," she said.
Pace worries that some parents may not be able to afford to send their children to her center once the funding stops.
According to the Century Foundation, more than 70,000 child care programs across the country could be forced to close without the child care stabilization program funding.
"It is going to have a big impact on all of us," Pace said. "We're looking at different ways we may need to position our business."
She is a part of the Early Education Leaders Coalition, an organization fighting for more investment in child care centers across Texas.
"If we have to go back to Austin, if we have to beat down the doors...that's what were gonna do," said Pace.
She says funding for child care centers is an investment in the future leaders of our communities, along with their families.
"Child care assistance is a lifeline for most of us parents. Without it, it's very expensive," Davis said.
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