Senators Ask Office of Child Care for Answers on Coronavirus
Updated: Feb 26, 2021
On March 30, 2020, twenty-two US Senators sent a letter to Ms. Shannon Christian, the director for the Office of Child Care at the Administration for Children and Families. The Senators requested information about how the Office of Child Care is responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
Specifically, the Senators asked Director Christian to provide:
How to most effectively active child care providers to help provide services to front-line personnel
Best practices and innovative solutions to assist communities needing child care
Recommendations on how child care workers from programs that have closed can be used to provide emergency child care for front-line workers
Recommendations on how child care programs that are currently open can provide slots for front-line personnel
How local communities can use closed Head Start facilities to serve immediate child care needs
Information relating to the role that child care resource and referral agencies can play in helping to connect families to available child care options.
Guidance on how child-serving programs should be cleaned and sanitized
Guidance on social distancing and public health recommendations.
We applaud the Senators for their leadership and recognition of these important issues. The Institute for Childhood Preparedness remains committed to providing resources to the early childhood sector during this global pandemic. You can view the entire letter here.
As our executive director wrote on March 23rd, in Coronavirus: It is Time for Child Care Programs to Close, FEMA, through their Public Assistance Program, should invoke their existing mechanism to provide funding for child care during an emergency (see Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide – FP104-009-2). This program should be activated for this national emergency. Further, as the space required for proper social distancing is far larger than what most child care programs can accommodate, currently, vacant buildings (many of which are government-owned) should be made available for child care operations. Schools, convention centers, libraries, sports stadiums, universities – all have a much bigger footprint and will allow for adequate space to enact social distancing.
The Institute for Childhood Preparedness is currently working with early childhood leadership throughout the country to develop evidence-informed guidelines for child care programs serving essential personnel. This is needed, as current guidance does not exist, nor does it address the unique situations that early childhood workers face. Further, guidance issued by States is contradictory and, in many cases, not granular enough to support the on-the-ground workforce. We will be providing more updates on this effort in the coming days.
Since the onset of this pandemic, we have been providing tools, resources, and guidance to early childhood professionals. We have established a special website www.childhoodpreparedness.org/corona and developed