HARRISBURG, March 28, 2020 – State Senator Judy Schwank (D-11th District) and State Senator Lindsey M. Williams (D-38th District) will soon introduce legislation to support childcare centers, pre-K, and Head Start programs, as well as their hard-working employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Start Strong PA and Pre-K for PA campaigns, Pennsylvania could see permanent closures of nearly one-third of its childcare centers from an extended economic shut down, which is why Schwank and Williams are taking action.
Their proposed legislation would:
- Provide $100 million to childcare centers to cover administrative expenses, including payroll, and fill the loss of tuition payments from families;
- Provide $17 million for Pre-K and Head Start to cover administrative expenses, including payroll to compensate for lost co-payments that would otherwise have been collected;
- Appropriate $50 million to extend Pre-K and Head Start programs into the summer to mitigate early childhood learning losses for students.
“Early childhood learning and safe, quality childcare is critical for restarting our economy as we come out of this crisis,” Schwank said. “It’s important that we act quickly to strengthen and sustain our childcare and early learning systems.”
Key, but often neglected components of workforce development are early childhood learning and childcare. However, these programs are critical to enabling parents to return to work confident that their children are being properly cared for and are receiving the education they will need to succeed in life.
“We know that affordable, quality childcare is a major barrier to entry into the workforce during normal times. Our essential workers should not have to worry about finding childcare as they work to care for us in hospitals, keep supermarkets stocked, and keep our communities clean and safe,” Williams said. “Childcare workers have traditionally been underpaid and undervalued, but times like these show how critical their role is. We must treat these professionals like the integral part of our workforce that they are.”