Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Play

The latest on the PRO Act, which could bring major changes to labor law, especially in "right-to-work" states; and COVID spikes result in new mandates.

Play

Travel restrictions are extended as Delta variant surges; some public-sector employers will mandate vaccines; President Biden says long-haul COVID could be considered a disability; and western wildfires rage.

Child-Care Access Critical for AZ Parents to Return to Work

Play


Wednesday, August 5, 2020   

PHOENIX -- Children's advocates say thousands of Arizona parents who've lost jobs in the pandemic can't return to work until public officials resolve the challenges facing the child-care industry.

A report shows the COVID-19 crisis forced almost half of Arizona's licensed and regulated child-care providers to fully or partially close. Those still operating are at 40% of capacity or less, and have laid off hundreds of caregivers.

Kelley Murphy, a coordinator with the Arizona Early Childhood Alliance, said access to safe and affordable child care is essential to reopening Arizona's economy.

"This is a crisis that's looming," she said, "and if we don't address it, if we don't do something about it, when those folks are ready to go back to work, there won't be a system there to take children to. And so that's going to be a huge, huge issue."

The Alliance wants state officials to release the balance of the $88 million in child-care funds Arizona received through the federal CARES Act, and for Congress to include additional funding for providers in its next COVID-19 relief package.

While some child-care centers received money in the pandemic, Murphy said there is a renewed need for financial help, so they can hire staff and make necessary health and safety changes before they reopen.

"They have to keep them in smaller groups," she said. "There's equipment, PPE masks, there's sanitation requirements. These things cost additional money. They have to bring in additional staffing. And so, it's significantly more expensive to care for even the fewer number of kids."

Murphy said reliable child care will be necessary for the state to rebuild its work force. But without additional financial support, she predicted Arizona's child-care industry could collapse.

"We'd really like to see a grant program, similar to what the PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] was," she said, "to help them offset their operational costs until we can get people back to work and actually paying for that child care themselves."

The Alliance is calling on state officials to immediately reopen applications for child-care grants, increase the per-child reimbursement rate, and waive child-care licensing fees for up to three years.

The AECA policy brief is online here, and a related infographic is at here.


get more stories like this via email

Smoke from the Bootleg fire in southern Oregon is blowing across Idaho and as far east as New York. (National Interagency Fire Center/Flickr)

Environment

BOISE, Idaho -- Wildfires are affecting air quality across the West, bringing hidden dangers in smoke that can harm people's health. The Boise-based …


Social Issues

DENVER -- The days of exponentially high increases in health-insurance costs may finally be in the rearview mirror. The Colorado Division of …

Social Issues

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Cultural institutions in the U.S. are facing scrutiny to be more accessible and inclusive. The organization in charge of Iowa's …


Electrifying heat pumps are key to lowering the carbon cost of buildings. (SkyLine/Adobe Stock)

Environment

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Last month's deadly heat wave in the Northwest underscored the need to reduce carbon emissions, but advocates want to ensure low-…

Social Issues

MINOT, N.D. -- Many arguments are being floated about legislation before Congress that would bring big changes to U.S. labor laws. The bill has its …

Studies show Medicaid expansion could reduce costs for Missouri's health-care system as a whole, by getting more patients preventive care, which is less expensive than emergency care. (torwaiphoto/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Health-care advocates called on Missouri lawmakers to allocate funds for Medicaid expansion right away, after the state …

Social Issues

AUGUSTA, Maine -- School meals in Maine will be free for all students again this year and into the future, but parents are being urged to fill out …

Environment

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A report outlines how federal efforts to bring solar energy to one in four American households could bring clean energy to …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021