Governors to decide how to spend money to fund childcare during pandemic

WASHINGTON- The $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief law includes millions in federal funding to keep childcare facilities open for essential workers.  Now it’s up to each state’s governor to determine how to spend the money.

Texas Republican Sen John Cornyn says many of our frontline workers cannot battle this pandemic without daycare for their children.

“It is not just a matter of convenience; it is a matter of necessity,” said Cornyn.

That’s why Cornyn says Congress included $3.5 billion to keep childcare facilities operating as part of the Coronavirus Relief Package.

“So childcare for people who are in public safety and the healthcare professions, the grocery stores,” said Linda Smith, Director of The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Early Childhood Initiative.

Smith says the money goes to states and state officials must decide how to spend it–safely.

“This is risky work. They are taking the children of people who are out there and exposed,” Smith said. “So, governors are now having to think through how do we make some of these decisions.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott says the 17,000 daycares in the state will now have to start doing health screenings for staff, children, and parents.

Lynette Fraga with Childcare Aware of America says the money will also go towards cleaning supplies.

“From sanitizing equipment, making sure that they have the materials and resources available to make sure those spaces are safe,” said Fraga.

But Fraga adds the $3.5 billion is just a down payment.

“We need so much more, approximately about 50 billion dollars,” said Fraga.

Fraga says that would keep daycares operating through summer.  She is asking Congress for the additional money in the next coronavirus relief bill.