Observer-Reporter: LTE: Pa’s child care providers must be saved
April 6, 2020
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many groups cautioned about the lack of affordable, high-quality child care for Pennsylvania’s working families and the impact on our economy. When families can’t find child care or afford it, that serves as a barrier to employment. Groups like the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission and ReadyNation estimated that the economic impact of insufficient infant / toddler child-care cost our commonwealth $2.5 billion annually. In short, the economy depends on working families and working families depend on child care.
Today, that child-care system is largely shut down like most sectors of our economy, causing real problems for essential workers across the state. This economic shutdown is also exposing the fragility of the child-care system. According to a new survey, nearly one-third of child-care providers indicated that they would go out of business if this economic shutdown lasts for more than a month. This begs an important question, “How will Pennsylvania families go back to work when businesses reopen if child-care providers do not?”
As leaders consider immediate economic stimulus options for the commonwealth, efforts to stabilize child-care providers must be a priority. Stimulus funding must be prioritized to strategically position our commonwealth for a speedy and robust economic recovery. As such, Pennsylvania’s child-care system must be saved.
Timothy J. O’Neal
State representative, 48th District