Lehigh Valley: LTE: Reopening child care centers will be difficult for owners
April 28, 2020

As a child care center owner who survived the 2009 budget crisis, I thought the worst years were behind me. When Pennsylvania lawmakers took six months to pass a budget, I was forced to tap into my 401(k). This allowed me to keep my early learning center doors open for the 56 families and 10 staffers who relied on me. Now, more than a decade later, being able to reopen after this health crisis hinges on my 15 employees and the parents of 85 children feeling comfortable returning to work in a post-COVID-19 world.

As a small business owner I’m once again bearing the brunt of a fiscal crisis. New health and safety practices will have to be put into place and small business owners will have to absorb the cost. The federal loans offered don’t take into account the state’s phased regional openings. And having to adhere to the loans’ strict timetable doesn’t factor into the limited staff I might initially need as parents slowly return to their workplaces.

Child care centers are essential infrastructure in communities large and small. Moving forward, we’ll need support from the business community, whose reliance on centers to care for their employees’ children will allow their businesses to once again be productive and profitable. I call on business leaders to help make sure legislators understand that it’s centers like mine that need adequate funding so that we can help support Pennsylvania’s economic revival. We don’t have time to waste.

Anabela Araujo

Read the LTE here.