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Shaheen calls for relief funds to be used to boost affordable child care

State officials say they have been working on a plan


Kendra Brook gave birth to her third son, Liam, just one week ago, but she is already back on the job, working from home, as a real estate agent.

Finding affordable child care for her children has been near impossible, Kendra said, adding that she has simply "given up" on identifying other options.

"It's not feasible for a lot of people. Most people cannot afford that," she said. "New Hampshire, or even [anyone] in the U.S., [don't] want to have to help parents raise their kids."

Kendra's story is not unique, according to U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who is now calling on the state to step up and do more to help families.

Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, is urging Gov. Chris Sununu, and other state lawmakers to use roughly $23 million in leftover pandemic relief funding to support child care projects.

During a tour on Friday of The Growing Years Early Childhood Center, Shaheen called the lack of affordable childcare a crisis for children, parents and the state's workforce.

Kitty Larochelle, director of the day care, said staffing shortages have forced her to close two classrooms and cut dozens of spots for children that would normally be available.

"We have not seen a person applying for a job in months, despite advertising and trying to recruit through our own families and families we have here at The Growing Years," she said. "There's just no one applying for the position."

In statements to WMUR-TV, Sununu and officials from the Department of Health and Human Services pushed back on Shaheen's proposal, asserting that their teams have already been working with child care providers and stakeholders on a plan to distribute federal relief money.