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Not just a latchkey situation



Government must rethink daycare’s relevance for working parents

latchkey, child care, kids, families

New York Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey and Massachusetts Congressman Richard E. Neal recently published a piece that emphasizes the need to rethink how day care centers reopen, while stressing their importance to the economy.

“Even before the pandemic, millions of parents could not find quality, affordable childcare that matched their work hours or their ZIP codes. Long wait lists for a childcare slot were routine. Now, across the United States, the pandemic has created significantly greater challenges for American families to secure safe, accessible care for their children with facility closures, reduced capacity, and new financial strains on programs, providers, staff and parents,” the essay notes. “The Center for American Progress (CAP) estimates that without adequate federal support, the coronavirus pandemic could permanently eliminate 4.5 million childcare spots -- nearly 50% of US childcare capacity, which was already far below our country's needs. People simply cannot return to their jobs if they're unable to find care for their children.”

The two Democrats have introduced the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, legislation that seeks to triple guaranteed federal child care funding from $2.9 billion a year to $10 billion a year for the next five years, with state match requirements for the increase temporarily suspended, to help more low- and middle-income families afford care. It includes landmark $10 billion for grants to states to help assess long-term structural challenges childcare facilities face, and make essential adaptations, reconfigurations and expansions in response to coronavirus.

The bill, of course, is bound to become caught in partisanship, like most governmental action these days. But it does address the fact that so many parents have been finding that they need to figure out what they're going to do with their children as day cares remain closed or have limited openings.

"The smaller schools are in danger of closing now, and the schools with a little more are in danger of closing in four, five, six months," says New York City day care center owner Wendy Cole.

In Florida, meanwhile, there is no age when a child can be legally left home alone, only a recommended age of 12 or older, and growing discussion about how many kids will be left on their own moving forward.

From CNN




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