Oklahoma City Senator Kay Floyd attends White House ‘Convening on Childcare’

State Senator Kay Floyd, D – Oklahoma City, was among more than 90 state legislators from 41 states to attend an in-person convening of state leaders at the White House on efforts to improve access to affordable, quality child care.

Floyd said it’s a timely issue as Oklahomans throughout the state are deeply impacted by the ability to find appropriate care for their children. The meeting was this week in Washington, D.C.

“More than 55 percent of our state’s population lives in a childcare desert, meaning there are not enough licensed childcare providers to meet the needs of working families,” Floyd said.

“This is a policy issue my fellow members from across the country are trying to address, and this meeting gave us an opportunity to hear how the current administration is working to support state efforts.”

According to a press release from the Senate communications staff, among the initiatives discussed at the White House meeting:

The American Rescue Plan’s $24 billion Child Care Stabilization program, which was available to all licensed and regulated providers in the country to help them stay open during the worst parts of the pandemic, or re-open if they had closed.

As of October 2022, stabilization funds enabled more than 225,000 childcare providers nationwide to serve as many as 10 million children.

Oklahoma received over $360 million from the program which was administered state-wide by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

Together with the $15 billion provided to the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the program provided what the legislative press release described as “the largest one-time U.S. investment ever made in child care. The state received over S226 million from that program. In total, Oklahoma received over $589 million for child care through the American Rescue Plan Act.”

An executive order signed in April included more than 50 directives to nearly every cabinet-level agency to expand access to affordable, high-quality care, and provide support for care workers and family caregivers.

“Having access to quality, affordable child care means a parent can return to the workforce or continue their education, each of which can help lift families out of poverty, creating brighter futures for those children, our communities and the entire state,” Floyd said.

“I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about efforts at the federal level to support our own people here in Oklahoma to meet this critical need.”