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Carper, colleagues urge administration to address child care needs of frontline workers

Delaware News Desk
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, joined Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-New Hampshire, and their colleagues in urging the Office of Child Care at the Department of Health and Human Services 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.

“Frontline workers are needed at their places of employment now more than ever, but in many cases do not have safe child care for their children,” wrote the senators. “We must work together to identify ways to provide child care access to workers who are performing necessary services, like health care workers…This global pandemic, which is unparalleled in modern day history, requires us to look beyond the typical measures to address community needs.”

The senators are also asking what DHHS can do to create new child care options, for instance using closed Head Start facilities to temporarily provide child care to the families of frontline workers. They highlighted innovative actions of some states, including New Hampshire: “In New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is working in a public-private partnership with the state to develop the NH Emergency Childcare Collaborative to ensure that essential workers have access to safe day care centers that align with nationally accepted guidelines.”

The bipartisan COVID-19 package that the president signed into law last week includes $3.5 billion in emergency funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant, and the senators ask for details from the Department of Health and Human Services by April 6 on what it is doing to ensure that this funding is used most effectively.

Read the senators full letter at bit.ly/342o9wn.