State Rep. Lisa Campbell insists need for Georgia to address its 'childcare cliff'

Democratic State Rep. Lisa Campbell (District 35) warns of Georgia's childcare cliff. She says its a crisis lawmakers have known about for a decade. (LaShawn Hudson/WABE/BBC Creative)

At the end of September, another pandemic-era benefit came to an end: $24 billion in federal funding for affordable childcare. While the grant money is gone, the urgent need for childcare and childcare workers continues.

According to the Century Foundation, this financial gap is expected to lead to almost 82,000 kids in Georgia losing access to childcare, almost 1,000 programs in Georgia closing, and Georgia parents losing $218 million in wages to cut their hours or leave the workforce.

On Friday’s “Closer Look with Rose Scott,” Georgia State Representative Lisa Campbell warned about the so-called childcare cliff. She said the state’s funding to assist daycare centers with start-up costs hasn’t changed since the early 1980’s.

She added the growing cost of starting a business, plus certifications, security, and physical expenses quickly costs more than the $8,000 offered by the state.

“And as we think about Georgia in terms of our approach, we have a leadership, governor who continuously talks about Georgia as the #1 place for business,” said Campbell.

“And I would offer that, if we really are thinking about our ‘why.’ What are we doing as legislators? What is the role of government? If our #1 why is not to be the #1 state for children and families, we have some moral, but also some economic issues.”

She said Georgia’s economy could come to a screeching halt if families don’t have access to childcare.

As far as solutions, Campbell stressed the need for action from state lawmakers and businesses within Georgia. She suggested millions of unallocated dollars in the state’s lottery fund could go towards childcare.

Heading into the next legislative session, Campbell says she feels confident about bipartisan legislation to help cover childcare costs in Georgia.