Tina Smith highlights child care relief for Minnesotans in American Recovery Act
Minnesota will mark a bleak anniversary this week — one year since the first COVID-19 case was diagnosed in the state. Since then, much has changed in the workforce.
"When the pandemic hit, women and men left the workforce equally but what has happened is men have returned, women have not because of the extra responsibilities, in large part because of child care and caregiving," U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., said.
Smith said the current Congressional relief package has important policies to support child care providers.
"It will provide up to $40 billion to shore up child care providers, including in-home family providers as well as child care centers and head start," Smith said.
According to Smith, the money would be distributed through the child care and development block grant program. The funding would help providers improve facilities and cover additional cleaning and personal protective equipment while expanding eligibility to essential workers to help cover their child care costs, something the Minnesota Association of Child Care Professionals questions.
"There are so many other families who are still struggling to make ends meet and this bill seems to be saying that child care for yours shouldn’t be covered but child care for that person who works in a certain industry should be covered," said Hollee Saville, president of the Minnesota Association of Child Care Professionals.
"Is it going to the providers that are struggling the most, who need it, through no fault of their own have lost families, have had increased costs?" Saville questioned.
The bill is expected to be heard in the Senate later this week.