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DHS Secretary Visits Johnstown

Providing proper childcare during the pandemic has proven to be a challenge.

It’s why the Department of Human Services acting secretary was in Johnstown Today to talk about possible solutions.

“Childcare is based on a wobbly economic model. ”

Those in the childcare industry say the business model is broken…low wages for workers, high costs for parents add in the flux and strain of a pandemic.

“It’s been very challenging for childcare providers. ”

Meaning thousands of providers across the nation are going out of business.

“I think it’s surprising that 3 years in we are still having classroom closures but is a reality. ”

It’s why Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Meg Snead was at the Learning Lamp in Johnstown today to talk about how the state is supporting the child care industry and what
further steps need to be taken.

“Childcare providers have to come to work every day regardless of how the rest of function. So, we have to make investments in this industry that is here for us. ”

Some of what was discussed: Nearly a billion dollars in funding through the American Rescue Plan Act to both stabilize Pennsylvania’s childcare industry and subsidize costs.

“Really flexible dollars to be sued from paying staff increased wages to replace air filters to deal with covid, recognizing no childcare facility is the same and they all have unique
and different needs.”

Both the acting secretary and the president and CEO of Learning Lamp Leah Spangler told me that the pandemic has made clear that a thriving childcare industry is foundational to the rest of our economy and even more help will be needed down the road…Like the approximately $400 billion in the proposed Build Back Better Act due to go to child care.

“The more people we can get into the workforce and the faster the better. We recognize we need a stable reliable infrastructure of child car providers to support the economy.”

“I’m hopeful that between people who own businesses realizing the importance of childcare for their workers and those in government realizing the necessity of childcare that maybe we
will be able to make some progress in building back child care that pays people fairly and attracts people to the field.”


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