August 17, 2020

Wyden, Colleagues Urge Federal Health Agencies to Offer COVID-19 Guidance to Child Care Providers

With a third or more of child care facilities nationally at risk of closing permanently due to COVID-19, lawmakers urge CDC to offer guidance and assistance amid reopening plans

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is asking federal health agencies for more detailed public health guidance to support the child care sector during and following the COVID-19 public health emergency.

In an Aug. 14 letter to the Office of Child Care at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Wyden and other legislators wrote, “The child care industry is at risk of collapse. A Bipartisan Policy Center nationwide survey reported in April that 60 percent of the child care facilities and family child care providers in the United States had to close their doors because of COVID-19 and, for 30 to 50 percent these providers, the closures will remain permanent. As more families across the country transition back to work and increasingly rely on child care, it is essential that the existing child care industry receives comprehensive guidance and implementation assistance so that providers are able to meet public health recommendations, protect the health and safety of both families and their workers, and continue to provide high quality and developmentally appropriate care for children.”

Child care center and family-based child care providers in Oregon and across the country have highlighted the lack of federal guidance on how to effectively implement the CDC’s public health recommendations. The lawmakers asked for detailed federal guidance on how to assist child care providers with implementing the CDC’s public health recommendations, while also maintaining high quality child care and providing developmentally-appropriate instruction for children. A strong, timely and coordinated federal response can address the needs and concerns of child care providers in Oregon and across the nation, so they can reopen with the confidence that their business can survive for the long-term.

In addition to Wyden, the letter was signed by Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Tom Carper, D-Del., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Jack Reed, D-R.I., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

In the House, in addition to Reps. Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, 63 other representatives including Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., signed the letter.

The letter was also supported by the March of Dimes, American Academy of Pediatrics, Child Care Aware of America, National Women’s Law Center, Committee for Hispanic Children & Families, Center for Law and Social Policy, National Black Child Development Institute, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. A broad coalition of over 40 child care facing organizations has endorsed the child care guidance letter.

A copy of the letter is here.