Rep. Kuster introduces bill to tackle New Hampshire’s childcare worker shortage

Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., chair of the New Democrat Coalition, is joined by members as she discusses new legislation on immigration reform and border security, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

By Colin Booth

February 15, 2024

Congresswoman Annie Kuster is taking aim at New Hampshire’s childcare crisis with the introduction of the Early Childhood Workforce Advancement Act. The bipartisan bill focuses on bolstering the availability of childcare workers, a critical concern for New Hampshire working families.

“We are facing a full-blown child care crisis here in New Hampshire and all across our country. Hardworking parents need access to affordable, quality child care to return to the workforce and fully participate in our economy,” said Congresswoman Kuster.

Kuster’s bill, co-sponsored by Representatives Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), and Mike Lawler (R-NY), takes a targeted approach by supporting career and technical education (CTE) programs.

RELATED: Rep. Kuster’s bill to boost broadband in rural NH heads to Biden’s desk

The legislation would provide grants to partnerships formed between schools, higher education institutions, childcare providers, and workforce training programs. These funds would then be used to establish, expand, or bolster CTE and career pathway programs designed specifically for early childhood education. Importantly, programs receiving grants would focus on high-need areas – New Hampshire regions experiencing the most severe shortage of childcare workers.

The need for action on child care in the state is well-documented. As highlighted in a recent report by the NH Family Policy Institute, the average cost of child care for an infant in New Hampshire exceeds $10,000 per year, among the most expensive rates in the nation. . The current lack of providers puts enormous strain on working parents, and  the sector has lost over 1,000 child care providers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kuster’s bill seeks to address the root cause of the shortage by boosting the number of qualified and trained childcare workers in the state.

Author

  • Colin Booth

    Based in Epsom, Colin Booth is Granite Post's political correspondent. A Granite State native and veteran political professional with a deep background in journalism, he's worked on campaigns and programs in battleground states across the country, ranging from New Hampshire, Texas, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.

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