View release on Sen. Ernst's website HERE.

WASHINGTON – During the Month of the Military Child and in response to the child care provider shortages across the country, U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Ranking Member and Chair of the Senate Small Business Committee and members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, are leading a bipartisan push to support servicemembers and improve access to child care in and around military installations.

Ernst and Shaheen’s effort would enable the Department of Defense (DoD) to enter into partnerships with private and public child care centers on or near DoD installations and require the Department to offer training opportunities and participate in provider recruitment programs. It would also encourage the DoD to recruit and offer training and certification to eligible military spouses.

“During the Month of the Military Child, I’m working on a new effort to uplift our incredible servicemembers and their families,” said Senator Ernst. “As a mom and a new grandma, I know it takes a village to raise a child and that our military members need high-quality, affordable child care for their young ones. By boosting training and recruitment efforts, this bipartisan bill will ensure military kids are safe and loved while their parents diligently train and prepare to protect our nation.”

“Access to affordable, reliable child care is vital to our workforce, families and the overall economic development of our communities. Right now, too many military families, including those in New Hampshire, face unique challenges in accessing high-quality, affordable child care due to frequent moves and new school enrollments for their children,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m proud to partner with Senator Ernst to develop a first-of-its-kind pilot program to leverage resources from the Department of Defense to train child care providers, increase available child care slots in communities across the country and provide new career development opportunities that will strengthen the capacity of the child care sector overall and help early childhood education teachers thrive.”


Ernst is dedicated to improving access to child care, particularly in rural communities.

Her Child Care Small Business Investment Act would make nonprofit child care providers eligible for certain loan programs under the Small Business Administration (SBA), so long as they are licensed by the state and their employees have had criminal background checks. This legislation would also ensure that religiously-affiliated nonprofits qualify for these loan programs. This effort passed through the Senate Small Business Committee in 2023 with bipartisan support.

Ernst also supports the Expanding Child Care in Rural America Act to give child care providers in rural agricultural communities the ability to access Department of Agriculture business development grants to prioritize projects that address the availability, quality, and cost of child care.