State administrators are trying to balance the need to act quickly while also making wise investments in using the COVID relief dollars, said Mario Cardona, chief of policy and practice of advocacy group Child Care Aware of America.
"A lot of these systems are not built to serve as many as we're hoping to serve," he said, noting the child care sector saw declines in the workforce before the pandemic. "There are systemic issues that have long linked childcare in the form of poor compensation, inadequate or non-existent benefits. And at times, unsteady availability of work."
Some classrooms have empty seats that providers are unable to fill because they don't have sufficient staff to meet the demand, Cardona said.
"I don't think that we can ask providers to do any more than what they're currently doing," he said. "It's really an area that's going to require increased levels of investment from the government. And so right now states are in a position to help leverage some of the funding that they received through the different relief packages."
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