U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.)

Minnesota U.S. Senator Tina Smith has taken a lead in a Congressional push to add $50 billion to the next COVID-19 relief bill for the child care industry. She explained on the KMRS Community Connection that even though $3.5 billion was already provided for child care services in the original CARES bill, that amount is not enough.

“A lot of family childcare providers and local preschools and neighborhood child care centers are really teetering on the brink of just going out of business,” said Smith. “And with that in mind and having heard a lot of stories from families and from these local family care providers and nursery schools, I am proposing with 30 of my other colleagues in the Senate a big package to help these centers stabilize during the coronavirus pandemic, and then also help them build back stronger so that they’ll be there when parents are going back to work.”

Smith said the proposed package would keep teachers employed and child care operations going in the short term, and offer grants to expand and improve those facilities. Smith said 50 percent of Minnesota’s childcare providers are at risk of going out of business and two-thirds of Minnesota counties report a child care shortage.

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