For newly unemployed parents with young children, an obstacle in seeking the next job is keeping their child-care provider.
As restrictions are being lifted on businesses closed due to the pandemic’s shutdown, officials expect employers to start re-hiring staff. It takes time for workers to distribute resumes and go on interviews.
Children in child care do better with consistency in their routines and relationships with providers.
If parents are unable to retain their child care, it will take longer for them to get into the workforce and get the economy moving.
To prevent this slowdown, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services will launch a program on Friday using federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security — or CARES — Act, for child care subsidies to unemployed parents.
The emergency program eliminates the typical income requirements and offers eligible families 60 days of subsidized care at a home provider or facility that has a license and contract with DHS.
Another benefit will be getting child care businesses back in operation.
Out of about 3,000 Oklahoma child care programs, some 771 have gone on inactive status with DHS. Of those, about 300 were federal Head Start or public school programs.
DHS licensing provides inspections for basic safety measures and a rating system identifying providers with higher education and training. It gives some assurance to parents of quality and safety.
Affordable, quality child care is an important factor in a healthy economy. It ensures that children have a safe learning environment while parents work.
For low-income or temporarily unemployed parents, child care becomes a lifeline in seeking financial stability.
The economy will rebound faster with support for working parents, and we applaud DHS for choosing to use its emergency funds for such a program.
It will give relief for families and child care providers and stability for children in child care.