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Senators Shaheen, Hassan & Colleagues Urge Administration to Offer COVID-19 Guidance for Child Care Providers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a bicameral group of their colleagues in urging the Office of Child Care at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide more detailed public health guidance to support child care providers during and following the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter was led by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Abby Finkenauer (D-IA).

In their letter, lawmakers asked for detailed federal guidance that would assist child care providers with implementing the CDC’s public health recommendations, while also maintaining high-quality child care and providing developmentally appropriate instruction for children. A strong, timely, and coordinated federal response can address the needs and concerns of child care providers across the nation, so they can reopen with the confidence that their business can survive for the long-term.

“The child care industry is at risk of collapse. As more families across the country transition back to work and increasingly rely on child care, it is essential that the existing child care industry receives comprehensive guidance and implementation assistance so that providers are able to meet public health recommendations, protect the health and safety of both families and their workers, and continue to provide high quality and developmentally appropriate care for children,” wrote the lawmakers.

Senators Shaheen and Hassan are working to support child care providers amid this pandemic, and are pushing to include $50 billion in the next COVID-19 relief package that would help stabilize child care centers in New Hampshire and across the country. Senator Hassan also held a roundtable with New Hampshire child care providers about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of continuing to support child care centers as parents return to work and need safe, reliable child care for their kids. Additionally, in March Senators Shaheen and Hassan and their colleagues urged the HHS to take additional steps to expand child care options for health care workers and others on the frontlines responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as provide critical guidance to child care providers to ensure that they are taking appropriate action to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 at centers that remain open. Last week, Senator Shaheen visited the Littleton Head Start to underscore the need for child care support in upcoming COVID-19 legislation. At Shaheen’s insistence, the CARES Act included flexibilities to allow child care grant dollars to be used to support child care for health care workers and other essential workers. New Hampshire has used the federal funding to help establish a child care system to support essential workers, so that they can continue their work on the frontlines of the crisis. In March, Shaheen introduced legislation to assist health care workers with child and elder care so that they can continue to treat patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full text of the letter can be found here