We must act now or risk crippling our local economy’s ability to recover from COVID-19.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, the pandemic has created a crisis for the childcare system nationwide. Childcare is the backbone of our nation’s economy – parents are dependent on childcare services to care for their children while they are at work.
Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, while the Center for Disease and Control recommends all people practice social distancing, hundreds of childcare workers in Pinellas County have reported to work, putting their health and safety at risk, so that parents can show up at their essential jobs.
Some federal assistance has been made available and our licensed childcare centers qualify to apply for that support. The application can be intimidating, and we are working with our centers to assist them in the application process. However, that support will not be adequate in addressing the scope of need we are experiencing in Pinellas County.
Without additional immediate relief, our childcare system will fail in Pinellas County. If our centers are to survive this crisis and remain open to serve our essential workers now and, in the future, when business reopen and call their employees back to work, we must act now.
The Emergency Childcare Support Fund has been established in partnership with the Pinellas Community Foundation, to ensure the backbone of our nation’s economy remains stable in Pinellas County. Funds collected will be used to provide relief to families through childcare scholarships in Pinellas County; to incentivize workers and support the reopening of licensed family and center-based childcare programs forced to close.