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The state of child care in Pa. to be discussed at House Children and Youth Committee hearing

The hearing is set for Monday afternoon.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Monday afternoon, the State House Children and Youth Committee will hold a hearing on the state of childcare in PA. Childcare centers have been hit hard by the pandemic, as more families work from home. The centers have long called on the General Assembly to do something to help them during this time. 

According to the Department of Human Services, 481 licensed child care centers in the state have closed since the pandemic began. Others have seen drastic drops in enrollment. 

After being shutdown when the pandemic first began, Shady Lane School in Western PA has only 20 percent of children return to their center in the months following the shutdown. To reopen, they were looking at a loss of about $50,000 per month. The shut down had cost them $250,000. 

Bright Horizons Child Care Center in Dauphin County, also saw a significant decrease in enrollment, from about 100 kids to 17 over the summer. 

To help the child care industry, the Wolf Administration announced the allocation of CARES Act funding. In June, child care centers received $51 million and then received another $116 million in the following months. Earlier this month, the Wolf Administration allocated $303 million in federal money from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 to support child care providers. 

There was a subsidy chance in September that requires child care centers to be reimbursed based on their actual attendance, and not their pre-pandemic numbers as they had been doing, which was another financial hit to some child care centers. 

All these issues are expected to be discussed at Monday's 1pm House Children & Youth Committee hearing. Help for these child care centers could come through future legislation, relief packages, or the upcoming budget.

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