As Ohioans Return To Work, Sherrod Brown Wants Federal Relief For Child Care Providers

May 11, 2020

As Ohio begins to reopen, many parents are asking how they're expected to work when most daycare centers remain closed. Gov. Mike DeWine is expected to address those concerns during his briefing Monday afternoon.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is calling for the next federal stimulus bill to provide help for child care providers. But he says he understands daycares present a unique challenge.

“I mean how do you keep kids from interacting?” Brown says.

That’s one of the reasons the state shut down all child care centers March 25. The only ones still operating got a temporary pandemic license to care for the children of frontline workers, but those are limited to just six kids per room.

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. 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," Brown 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.

“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 says.

Brown joined with 30 other senators in calling for at least $50 billion in emergency funding to help child care providers stay afloat.

"Child care programs across this country have been pushed to the brink and many now find themselves making a difficult choice: stay open, providing childcare for essential workers and serving vastly fewer children with increased staffing and necessary cleaning costs and diminished tuition revenue, or close altogether to help stop the spread of the coronavirus," the senators wrote in a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Without daycares, the senators say any economic recovery will be hamstrung.

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