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Childcare Providers Need Help, Senators Say

picture of children walking on path lead by teacher.
Daycare providers in Ohio have been closed since late March.

As Ohio begins to reopen, there are a lot of questions about how parents can go back to work when most daycare centers remain closed. Governor Mike DeWine is expected to address that during his briefing Monday afternoon.

And Senator Sherrod Brown is calling for the next federal stimulus bill to provide help for childcare providers.

Brown understands daycare centers present a unique challenge. “I mean how do you keep kids from interacting?” That’s one of the reasons the state shut down all childcare centers March 25. The only ones still operating got a pandemic license to care for the children of frontline workers

For parents going back to work that presents a dilemma, especially since caregivers they might otherwise turn to, like grandparents, may not be an option. Senator Brown says he and his wife are avoiding in-person visits with their four grandchildren in Columbus.

“We don’t think we should see them and they should see us," he said. "We do Skype, and we do Zoom and we do just FaceTime but it’s a difficult time and we’ve got to pitch in and figure this out.”   

Brown says he’s concerned parents have few options and kids will pay the price.

With few alternatives, families may let kids take care of kids.

“Whether they’re a 7-year-old taking care of a 3-year-old when mom and dad go off to work. Whether they’re a teenager that can get into trouble as teenagers can when libraries are closed, childcare centers are closed, recreation centers are closed.”     

Brown has joined with 30 other senators calling for at least $50 billion in emergency funding to help childcare providers stay afloat. Without them, the senators say any economic recovery will be hamstrung.

Read the full text of the letter the senators sent to senate leaders below: