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Letter to the Editor: Child care industry must be deemed essential

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The child care industry is the backbone of the economy. Parents of 6.4 million children need child care in order to get back to work. On top of this, the child care industry contributes approximately $100 billion to our economy and employs more than 1.5 million people.

But the coronavirus has forced many child care centers to close due to lack of funds and low enrollment. My 2-year-old daughter attended a Nolensville preschool last year that had to close early due to COVID-19. Her teachers, who dedicated their days to educating and caring for her, were abruptly left without a job. 

Unsure if schools will open again this fall, I’m concerned that preschool children and teachers will not have a place to return to due to the economic strain placed on child care providers. 

As more states begin to reopen, it’s become clearer than ever that we need child care — for our children, our workforce and our economy.

Join me and Save the Children Action Network in urging U.S. Rep. Mark Green to co-sponsor the Child Care is Essential Act. This important legislation focuses on immediate relief, providing financial support to stabilize the child care industry. It would allow child care providers to safely reopen, hire staff, pay rent and buy items — such as cleaning supplies and PPE — that they need. In other words, this legislation would enable the child care industry to survive and allow our economy to get back up and running.

Policymakers must act. The futures of our children, workforce and economy hang in the balance.

Vanessa Byers



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