Governor Tom Wolf said his administration is planning to distribute more than $175 million to child care providers across Pennsylvania.
This is the third round of distribution to support Pennsylvania’s child care industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic that left millions of people struggling. The state distributed $53 million in July and $51 million in June to provide financial support to child care providers licensed by the Department of Human Services’ Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL).
Gov. Wolf is providing financial support to child care providers statewide using some of the funding Pennsylvania from the federal government under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The state received $3.9 billion under the federal law to help those who are economically suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Wolf believes a healthy economy requires a strong child care industry
In a statement, Gov. Wolf said, “Pennsylvania has made significant investments to preserve our child care sector to keep providers open and available to working families, but we know that child care providers remain vulnerable to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.”
The Governor added, “A strong child care industry is a requirement for a healthy economy. We must remember this as we move forward and continue support for child care providers as they care for young Pennsylvanians and allow parents to work so our communities and economy can thrive.”
Researchers from the Penn State Harrisburg’s Institute of State and Regional Affairs studied the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s child care industry. The state used the researchers’ findings as a basis for its method in distributing the third round of CARES funding to 6,893 child care providers.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 7,017 child care providers operating across Pennsylvania. More than 200 of those indicated an intention to permanently shut down due to the crisis.
Penn State’s study projected that additional 1,000 child care providers are at risk of closure due to the ongoing costs related to implementing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Child care providers are also experiencing low enrollments due to the crisis.
Gov. Wolf proposes $250M additional funds for the state’s child care industry
Earlier this week, Gov. Wolf proposed a $250 million investment to provide further support to the state’s child care industry and working families in need of child care. His proposal would be funded through the remaining CARES Act funds.
“This public health emergency is not over, and there will be challenges ahead that providers will rise to because of their dedication to the families they serve. Providers should not have to navigate these challenges alone, and we must support providers and working families in every way possible…This additional $250 million will allow providers to continue to support needs of families affected by these challenging times,” said Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller
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