Underwood Convenes Local Child Care Providers and Parents to Discuss Access to Child Care During Coronavirus Pandemic
WEST CHICAGO— Today, Representative Lauren Underwood (IL-14) convened local child care providers to discuss access to affordable child care Illinois families. The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the existing child care access and affordability crisis. Underwood was joined by Shelley Bromberek-Lambert, Chief Reimagination Officer of YWCA Chicago and Renee McCauley, Co-Owner Nature's Scholars, who shared how the pandemic has significantly impacted child care providers and provided information for Illinois families. Underwood was also joined by Abby Johnson of Geneva, who shared her family's personal struggle to access child care during the coronavirus pandemic. Underwood recently strongly supported the passage of the Child Care is Essential Act and the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act in the House, which makes federal investments to support struggling child care providers, workers, and families while supporting the safety of child care facilities.
"Because of COVID-19, Illinois risks losing 141,214 child care slots indefinitely. If we do not get child care providers the resources they need to serve families during this crisis, the impact will be felt for years to come. Child care providers are essential to our families and our economy. They are doing truly heroic work, and they deserve federal support," said Underwood.
"It's refreshing to know that Congresswomen Underwood has taken the time to see and hear the struggles of child care in its current state. Families and centers are struggling financially to accommodate the recent changes and restrictions put upon child care centers. If something is not done, in an already struggling field, to help families, centers, and staff, the child care industry will collapse. Child care is essential to our economy and these gaps need to be filled," said Renee McCauley, Co-Owner Nature's Scholars.
"Child care is a key part of our economy's foundation. Without it, women cannot return to work and our economy cannot restart. Our child care system was already antiquated and broken pre-COVID-19. With Representative Underwood's help, we are reimagining our childcare system and all it can contribute to strengthening our nation's economy and indeed, our society overall," said Shelley Bromberek-Lambert, YWCA Chief Reimagination Officer.
"Without child care access, my husband and I had to provide child care at home in shifts. I found myself crying on the floor night after night, wanting to be successful in school, at work, and as a mother. My kids were losing so much early learning experiences necessary for their development; it was so painful," said Abby Johnson, Geneva resident.
Full video of the virtual panel can be found here.