The Ounce of Prevention Fund has joined dozens of other child advocacy organizations in a letter to Congress requesting “significant attention to and investment in the child care and early learning sector” as part of any legislative action to support families and industries affected by the public health crisis resulting from the spread of COVID-19.
Among other recommendations and considerations, the letter calls on Congress to provide robust flexible emergency funding to help families and providers address the impacts of COVID-19. Allowable uses of this funding should be based on what providers and parents need in their community, and should at a minimum include:
- Providing direct assistance to programs based on enrollment, not attendance;
- Providing payments to programs and workers in the case of COVID-19 related closures, including back-up care;
- Providing payments to programs to continue to serve children when parents or caregivers experience an inability to make co-payments or pay tuition;
- Covering the cost of substitute educators; and
- Purchasing additional supplies or services necessary to keeping centers and homes safe and sanitary and provide necessary training for staff in all relevant languages.
The Ounce also joined national partners in sending a letter to the Director of the Office of Child Care in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requesting immediate and clear guidance to state Child Care and Development Fund administrators and lead agencies regarding policy choices to help child care providers and the families they serve remain operable, financially stable and, to the degree possible, open during and after the ongoing COVID-19/coronavirus crisis.