U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday called on Congress to include a proposal for a $50 billion fund in the next coronavirus relief package in an effort to combat an “unprecedented day care crisis.”
Gillibrand said that 4 million children could lose access to care when their parents or guardians physically go back to work as the economy reopens.
“There’s just not enough availability for every kid that wants to be in day care to be in day care in most states today,” Gillibrand said.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced widespread closures of services and facilities where groups of people gather. That includes day cares.
“More than 355 thousand people in the child care industry have lost their jobs,” she said. “Many providers who closed will not be able to reopen their doors without assistance.”
Those that have remained open, Gillibrand said, have had to downsize their capacity to provide social distancing strategies as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC also advises child care providers to use screening procedures such as temperature checks on arriving children and intensify cleaning efforts.
The Child Care Is Essential Act would provide grants to help stabilize child care providers as they adopt COVID-19 safety measures, Gillibrand said. She said providers need financial resources to make those accommodations.