Senator Camera Bartolotta and Representative Tim O’Neal Staff Member Tour The Village of FPC
Child Care Providers Struggle to Remain Open as the Workforce in Southwest PA Returns to Work
CALIFORNIA, PA: (October 7, 2020) – Start Strong PA and Pre-K for PA Campaign partner Trying Together hosted a virtual classroom tour at The Village of FPC in California, PA today describing the challenges COVID-19 has caused the child care industry. Senator Camera Bartolotta and Eric Kratz from Representative Tim O’Neal’s office participated in the tour and discussion.
“After closing in March, we reopened June 1st at 20% capacity and have are enrolled around 50%. In addition to loss in revenue and increased expenses, we are experiencing what I would call, COVID fatigue,” said Cherie Sears, President, The Village of FPC. “We have been adjusting curriculum that wasn’t designed for social distancing, and the entire playbook has been rewritten 8 times since June 1st.”
“Child care staff put ourselves at risk everyday for very little compensation. Without child care, many other frontline workers would not be able to go to work, and we get no recognition for being front line workers ourselves.” Sears offered a glimpse into the early learning center describing both visually and verbally how providers support our children, families, businesses, and are a critical component to our economic recovery.
In a study on COVID-19’s impact on Pennsylvania’s child care sector, Penn State’s Director of Institute of State and Regional Affairs reports an estimated $325 million in new costs and lost revenues for PA providers since the economic shutdown.
“Child care policies and protocols have changed significantly and they are very costly,” said Sears. “Centers like The Village must now have additional staff to meet cars outside as parents are not able to bring children into the center. In addition to cleaning supplies and PPE, each child must now have their own materials.”
“Child care, an industry with professionals that barely make a livable wage, holds the weight of our economic recovery. And without additional financial support that industry will collapse under that weight, along with the workforce and businesses that rely on them,” said Shalonda Spencer, Director of Government Affairs and Policy, Trying Together.
In the wake of COVID-related closures, the Pre-K for PA and Start Strong PA campaigns — representing tens of thousands of Pennsylvania families — have illustrated the urgent need for relief, as Pennsylvania’s child care providers have incurred devastating losses over the past 6+ months. Stabilizing the Commonwealth’s child care and early learning system is a necessary strategy supporting our overall economic recovery.
The Start Strong PA and Pre-K for PA campaigns represent thousands of early learning providers and supporters across Pennsylvania. For more information visit www.startstrongpa.org and www.prekforpa.org.