“After having many, many conversations with Minnesota childcare providers and families who are struggling, I have been working as hard as I can to get support to childcare providers,” said the Democratic Senator.
The pandemic forced a lot of changes in the world of childcare. With students not in school, parents were in a desperate search for alternative care, or missed work themselves to look after the kids.
“Our goal and our plan has been $50 billion to help shore up the nation’s childcare system during the pandemic. This is a number that experts who’ve looked at the system across the board, tell us is what’s necessary just to stabilize the system.” Sen. Smith says only $10 billion was secured, so she’s pushing to get the House and Senate to pass another $40 billion in the next Congressional package.
“This is going to make a huge difference on how we recover, for people to be able to go back to work. And also really important for these childcare providers to be able to get solid financial footings so they can be sustainable for the long run.”
Sen. Smith says the dollars would flow through the Childcare Development Block grant, and would be used by childcare centers for anything they may need. That could include equipment improvements, personal protective equipment, even help to pay salaries or for training.
“We need to also make it possible so that childcare is affordable for families. That’s been a big problem we’ve had.”
Sen. Smith says the House will be voting on the package shortly, then moving to the Senate. She hopes to get the funding passed by the middle of March.