Less Oklahoma children are being taken to daycare during the COVID-19 pandemic because many parents are working from home.
The Licensed Child Care Association of Oklahoma sent a letter to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services asking for more guidance on how they plan to distribute $50 million the department received from the CARES Act.
Local daycare owners said that's money they need to keep their doors open.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Jessica Morris said 120 children were enrolled between the two Bright Beginning Learning Center locations in Coweta. Monday, she said they were only caring for 40 kids.
“We have a lot of parents that are not paying for their kids that are staying home. Typically, they would pay, but they're not right now. It just means that we are really struggling,” said Morris.
In a news release, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services said they’ll use $50 million from the CARES Act to subsidize childcare for Oklahomans impacted by COVID-19 who lost their jobs.
A letter from Licensed Child Care Association of Oklahoma said in part, “the funding intent was to give immediate relief to childcare providers and was not intended for unemployed families.”
“The state has asked us, urge us, to stay open for the front-line essential workers, but they are not paying for their kids that are staying home," said Morris.
The Child Care Association of Oklahoma said 43 other states interpreted the CARES Act differently and gave money directly to daycares based on what their typical enrollment numbers are.
Morris believes that would help keep more daycare centers in Oklahoma open during this time of need.
“We are really hurting financially. We are trying to stay afloat,” said Morris.
You can also read the following release sent from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services by clicking here.