Child Care Programs Need Coronavirus Funding, Advocates Urge Congress

“Child care is so essential to our economy and central to family well being,” Karen Schulman, The National Women’s Law Center’s (NWLC) child care and early learning research director, tells Romper. “And it is already very vulnerable, particularly in a case like this where there is so much disruption.” Some 38 organization have joined the NWLC in urging Congress to support child care and early learning programs during the coronavirus outbreak.

According to Schulman, the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has placed child care providers in a uniquely difficult situation. So far, more than 1,250 schools have closed or announced plans to close, impacting an estimated 856,520 students, according to Education Week. As schools across the country close, parents unable to work from home or take time off work may turn to child care programs for help, increasing their workload and need for resources. Or perhaps the growing popularity of telecommuting results in fewer families using child care programs, thereby cutting into the already thin financial margins many child care programs have.

Additionally, some child care and early learning programs may be forced to close due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus, potentially jeopardizing child care providers and their families with a loss of income. A coronavirus stimulus package for child care and early learning programs could also enable providers to ensure staff have access to paid sick leave, proper cleaning supplies, and any necessary training regarding coronavirus.

“We have to consider all of those options and that’s why substantial funding is really critical,” Schulman tells Romper. “This is where we need the federal government to step up.”