Rep. Joe Cunningham (SC-01) on Wednesday joined his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass bipartisan legislation to support families and child care providers throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The Ensuring Children and Child Care Workers are Safe Act would help guarantee child care providers have the resources and funding necessary to safely operate at a time when childcare services are critically important.
“The coronavirus pandemic has seriously exacerbated the child care challenges South Carolina families face, forcing facilities to close and worsening the shortage of quality, affordable care,” said Rep. Joe Cunningham. “To fully reignite and reopen our economy, it is crucial that our childcare facilities have the funds necessary to safely care for our children, especially for essential workers who cannot stay home. This bill ensures child care providers have the operational guidance they need on personal protective equipment, best practices for safer childcare facilities, and updated health and safety regulations. The Senate should take up this bipartisan legislation as soon as possible and deliver much-needed relief to working families.”
The bipartisan Ensuring Children and Child Care Workers Are Safe Act of 2020 would direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide states with educational materials and technical assistance related to:
- COVID-19 prevention in childcare facilities.
- Professional development for childcare providers on health and safety.
- How to acquire and use personal protective equipment.
- How to modify operations to prevent COVID-19 transmission, including optimal staff-to-child ratios.
In addition to technical assistance, the legislation would also allow HHS to make grants to states so they can then provide outreach, guidance, and technical support to childcare providers. The bill would also require HHS to recommend how to ensure the safe provision and adequate supply of childcare during COVID-19.
Earlier this summer, Cunningham voted to pass the Child Care is Essential Act and the Child Care for Economy Recovery Act, legislation that would provide $50 billion for the Child Care Stabilization Fund to award grants to child care providers to help pay for sanitation, training, and other costs associated with reopening a child care center in the time of COVID-19; increase and make refundable the child and dependent care tax credit; provide $10 billion in funding to help states assess long-term structural challenges that child care centers may face during COVID-19; and enable states’ child care agencies to increase support for child care through $850 million in Social Services Block Grant funding.