|Posted:||March 27, 2020 03:18 PM|
|From:||Senator Judith L. Schwank and Sen. Lindsey M. Williams|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Child Care Assistance|
|In the near future we will be introducing legislation to support childcare centers, pre-K, and Head Start programs and their hard-working employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout Pennsylvania, non-essential businesses have been ordered to close, including many childcare centers. As we fight the spread of COVID-19, we must institute polices to help working families and small businesses and the people that work for them. During this pandemic, it is critical for Pennsylvania to support childcare for essential workers.
Key, but often neglected components of workforce development are early childhood learning and childcare. At this critical juncture, while our economy is teetering on the edge of disaster, we must invest in early learning programs like Pre-K Counts, Head Start and subsidized childcare. These programs are critical to enabling parents to return to work confident that their children are being properly cared for and are receiving the education they will need to succeed in life.
According to the Start Strong PA and Pre-K for PA campaigns, Pennsylvania could see permanent closures of nearly one-third of its childcare centers from an extended economic shut down. We must provide resources for childcare centers during this pandemic to make sure families have the support and that employees are getting paid.
In order to address these issues, our legislation would:
· Provide $100 million to childcare centers to cover administrative expenses, including payroll, and fill the loss of tuition payments from families;
· Provide $17 million for Pre-K and Head Start to cover administrative expenses, including payroll to compensate for lost co-payments that would otherwise have been collected; and
· Appropriate $50 million to extend Pre-K and Head Start programs into the summer to mitigate early childhood learning losses for students.
Mitigating the spread of COVID-19 is crucial to ensuring the state’s citizens remain healthy into the future. However, we must not forget about the continued needs of families with children, nor the childcare centers who are needed to provide services, as we navigate through these unprecedented challenges.
I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.