Press Release

How States Can Use ARPA Funds to Increase Pay and Benefits to the Child Care Workforce


Contact: Penelope Whitney, CSCCE Communications Director,

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) represents unprecedented federal investment in early care and education, with clear allowances for workforce compensation. There is an urgent need to utilize ARPA funding to get much-needed relief in the form of direct cash assistance and benefits to the child care workforce, who earn an average of $11.65 an hour.

Unfortunately, some state leadership has balked at releasing funds to the workforce. Other agencies have focused on funding existing expenses, rather than raising wages.

To aid state leaders and other stakeholders in securing these workforce supports, the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) has released recommendations and examples of states where such advances have already been made.

On May 10, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shared a memo with state and tribal lead agencies that further calls for using ARPA funds to raise wages:

“Raising the wages of child care staff is a central part of stabilizing the industry, and lead agencies are strongly encouraged to prioritize this use of funds. Other examples of allowable personnel costs include ongoing professional development or training, premium or hazard pay, staff bonuses, and employee transportation costs to or from work.”

The memo urges agencies to simplify the application process for providers and educators by providing helplines and written materials in multiple languages. It also suggests they partner with “culturally relevant organizations and trusted messengers who can support a diverse range of child care providers in navigating the application process.”