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Rep. Betsy Fogle champions childcare funding in budget

Rep. Betsy Fogle, a Democrat from Springfield, was able to attach an amendment to the budget granting $20 million in state funds to two programs covering childcare costs for small businesses and essential workers, including state agencies.

This amendment grants $10 million allocated to state agencies’ essential workers and another $10 million to small businesses. Both agencies and businesses will be able to submit proposals to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for up to $250,000 each for expenses and equipment related to childcare services.

This pilot program is funded through money awarded by the American Rescue Plan Act.

“Childcare is a significant cost that only rose during the pandemic, and it imposes a major financial barrier for families to stay active in the workforce,” Fogle said. “By devoting funds to this program, we tell parents who work in state agencies or want to start new businesses that we support them.”

Fogle also said this amendment can largely help state workers struggling with low staffing levels in the public sector, in hopes of reducing employee turnover. Throughout the budget process, many members heard from a multitude of state agencies that employee turnover is at unsustainable levels because they are overworked and feel underappreciated.

“I’m proud to secure this funding for Missouri families by working across the aisle during a historic budget year,” Fogle said. “This appropriation will improve livelihoods across the entire state.”

The House passed the budget Thursday before adjourning for the week. It now heads to the Senate.