U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called on Tuesday for the creation of a $50 billion stabilization fund to help child care providers stay open due to limited revenue amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The call also comes as state economies across the country and here in New York begin to reopen, sending parents back to work. Schools have been shuttered in New York since March to prevent the spread of the virus.
The measure backed by Gillibrand would create a fund that provides grants to aid child care providers who had stayed open during the pandemic. The money would also help providers who had to close and are working to reopen.
“Our nation was facing a child care crisis even before the pandemic hit, with millions of working families struggling to afford high-quality and safe child care,” Gillibrand said. “Now our nation’s child care providers, and parents who rely on them, are facing unprecedented instability and uncertainty. There’s no recovering from this recession if parents can’t get back to work, and the Child Care is Essential Act will support providers who have been caring for the children of essential workers during this crisis and will ensure that others can safely reopen their doors and help parents get back to work. Congress must pass it, both for our recovery and for our future.”
Child care providers have faced limited revenue and rising costs to operate. More than 355,000 people in the industry have lost their jobs and many providers won't be able to reopen without some form of assistance, Gilibrand said.
The stimulus bill known as the CARES Act invluded $3.5 billion for child care and development block grants, but advocates say the problem is much broader and in need of more money.