Senator Marshall Leads Bill to Expand Childcare in Rural America 

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Roger Marshall (R-KS), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Mike Braun (R-IA) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Expanding Childcare in Rural America (ECRA) Act of 2023 to improve the availability, quality, and cost of childcare in agricultural and rural communities. Each Senator is a member of the Senate Ag Committee.

“Access to childcare is a top priority for both families and employers in every corner of Kansas,” Senator Marshall said. “With a few changes to the USDA’s Rural Development programs, which benefit our rural communities, we can build the necessary childcare infrastructure that puts our children on the right educational path and provides them with a strong foundation for the future.”

“Child care is far too expensive and too hard to find for Ohio families, and parents in rural Ohio face unique challenges. Farm communities often lack enough transportation infrastructure and don’t have enough high-quality child care providers, and rural parents are more likely to work non-traditional hours,” Senator Brown said. “These are commonsense, bipartisan steps to make child care more affordable and accessible in rural communities, so that more Ohio parents can support their families.” 

“Access to childcare is essential, but for too many families living in rural places, it is out of reach”, Senator Smith said. “I’ve heard from Minnesotans who have to drive 50 miles to take their kids to childcare and from providers who are struggling to find and keep staff.  This bill will help improve the quality, availability and affordability of childcare in rural communities to help ensure that parents have the ability to pursue their careers.”

“When I’m traveling from River to River across Iowa I hear from employees and small business owners who want more childcare options in rural Iowa. Our efforts will empower childcare centers in our agriculture communities to invest in facility development and staff training opportunities to ensure quality childcare options are available to every family. Keeping my promises to take on this issue, I will continue to work with my colleagues to remove burdens on parents by expanding opportunities for providers in every corner of the state,” Senator Ernst said. 

“Childcare is so important to local communities, and small towns in Indiana could use some additional resources to make childcare more affordable and available,” Senator Braun said.

You may click HERE to read the Expanding Childcare in Rural America Act of 2023


The Expanding Childcare in Rural America Act would direct U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development to authorize and prioritize projects that address the availability, quality, and cost of childcare in agricultural and rural communities. 

The bill would also allow USDA to make awards through intermediaries such as, childcare resource and referral organizations, staffed family childcare networks, and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) with demonstrated expertise in the childcare sector.