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Lawmakers, business owners say further funding for child care industry is essential to reopening economy

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is bringing attention to the child care crisis that has developed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for federal assistance. During a virtual meeting Thursday, the organization heard feedback from lawmakers and early child care providers. 

Anne Sousa with the YWCA in New Britain said, “We are at an extremely reduced capacity and we are unsure what that will look like moving forward when the district opens. The YWCA has been open since March 26 serving the community here, however, we are starting to lose $100K a month, every month and it is not a sustainable program.”

According to the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, 40-50 percent of child care providers are still closed and some child care centers have shut their doors for good.

Julie Clark owned a child care center in Woodbury before the pandemic. She told News 8, “By the end of March I had seven children in one day in attendance and 14 staff out of 33 who came to work because they needed their paychecks. I relied 100 percent on private tuition. The situation was unsustainable so I closed my doors and allowed my teachers to collect unemployment.”

Tennille Smalls said child care providers are faced with the fears of risking their health while fighting to stay on the frontlines for the community. 

“Some of our family child care providers also have been exposed or tested positive for COVID-19 and were therefore forced to close the doors of their in-home centers,” said Smalls. 

Georgia Goldburn told the group the impact is being felt in minority communities. 

“As a result of this COVID crisis, this is going to have an impact on communities of color and this will be just another drop in the bucket of how communities of color will be disproportionately impacted,” she said. 

Rep. Rosa DeLauro introduced the Child Care is Essential Act, a bill that would provide $50 billion in additional federal child care funding for states through the Child Care Development Block Grant program. 

Rep. Rosa DeLauro added, “Without a child care industry in place, we will not be able to reopen our economy and get it back on track.”

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