TRENTON, NJ -- Senator Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) recently introduced legislation to aid the child care industry and support families faced with remote learning. Under the measure, $50 million in federal CARES Act funding would be allocated for child care facilities for expenses related to providing additional hours of care to school aged children during the 2020-2021 school year.
“To accommodate the influx of children who need care during the traditional school day, child care operators have had to hire staff and procure PPE and cleaning supplies, leading to increased operating costs,” said Singleton. “Even with subsidies from child care assistance programs, the current funds are insufficient to cover the costs of providing high-quality child care to New Jersey’s children. By allowing child care providers to seek reimbursement for these expenses, we can help ensure that families have adequate, safe care for their children.”
According to the Department of Human Services, most children spend between five and six hours a day in child care on days they attend school in person. A child attending school online typically spends between eight and ten hours per day in child care.
The expenses that could be covered by the funding would include staffing and operating costs, training and personal protective equipment. Assistance would only cover the costs related to expanding hours of service.
“We must give our childcare providers the financial support they need to accommodate the increased demands of this public health emergency,” continued Singleton.
Singleton also noted the impact that remote learning has had on women in the workforce as a need to support the child care industry.
“It is unreasonable to think that New Jersey can jump-start our economy without addressing the child care needs in our state,” Singleton said. “Statistics show that a shocking number of women have dropped out of the workforce, in part due to the demands of caring for their families and managing their children’s remote schooling. Last month alone, 617,000 women nationwide left their jobs, compared to only 78,000 men. This is a trend that cannot continue.”
A report released this week by Rutgers’ Infant and Toddler Policy Research Center indicated that the class size limitations, along with low state subsidies and the increased health and safety costs of PPE, cleaning and facility upgrades, have left the industry in “financial peril.”