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Sen. Gillibrand renews call for federal childcare funding

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand speaks at the podium alongside Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday.
Noelle E. C. Evans | WXXI News
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand speaks at the podium alongside Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand renewed her call for $50 billion in federal funding to stabilize childcare during a visit to Ibero-American Action League’s Early Childhood Services Center Friday.

Gillibrand says that along with the Childcare is Essential Act, which would provide critical support for child care providers, she will also support the Child Care for Working Families Act to provide a long-term solution to childcare access.

 “Throughout this crisis, childcare providers have been essential workers behind the other essential workers, taking care of the children of our doctors, our nurses, our EMTs, our first responders, our grocery store clerks, our pharmacy clerks,” said Gillibrand. 

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, who joined Gillibrand, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, noted that before the pandemic, the lack of childcare access diminished work opportunities for parents, particularly mothers, who cannot work without care in place for their children.

“There will be no recovery in our nation or in our state until we figure out childcare for working parents. It’s that blunt,” said Hochul.

Gillibrand noted that nearly half of all childcare providers in the U.S. have had to close due to the pandemic. The closings could affect childcare for 4 million children across the country. 

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Gillibrand also said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should work directly with childcare stakeholders to ensure that guidelines are in place to prevent children and care providers from contracting and spreading the coronavirus. Gillibrand said that the current guidelines are insufficient and that she and Rep. Joe Morelle will be sending a letter to the CDC. It will have a list of needs and recommendations from Rochester-based childcare providers that would allow them to operate safely.

Noelle E. C. Evans is WXXI's Murrow Award-winning Education reporter/producer.