Vance Aloupis pushes state to provide child care for Florida’s first responders
Image via Florida House.

Several other states have already moved to do the same.

Rep. Vance Aloupis says the state should provide Florida’s first responders with emergency child care as those workers continue to stand on the front lines of the state’s fight against the novel coronavirus.

“With more than a quarter-million health care workers in Florida with children under the age of 14, emergency child care will be essential to ensuring that Florida’s front lines are properly staffed as the number of cases of COVID-19 in Florida continue to increase through the end of April and into May,” Aloupis wrote in a recent letter to Office of Early Learning Director Shan Goff.

“The Governor’s office, the Department of Education and the Office of Early Learning have taken the appropriate steps to ensure that our state’s early learning system survives this difficult chapter in history. Now, we must ensure that we are doing everything we can to support those men and women who are working each and every day to pull Florida through.”

Should Florida make sure a move, they wouldn’t be the first state to do so. Several other Governors have stepped in as first responders across the country battle the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont, for instance, ordered child care facilities shut down in mid-March. But he pushed to continue services for families of “essential persons.” That group includes health care workers and first responders.

In Florida, some individual organizations have helped fill in the gap. The Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County offered a limited number of scholarships for children of first responders. Some YMCA centers have also stepped in to offer child care for those families.

Aloupis argues the demand on those families will only increase as Florida approaches its peak in coronavirus cases.

“As we begin to see even greater pressure being put on our health care system, our firefighters, our police, our paramedics, we must be doing all we can to ensure that they can go to work each day knowing that their children are safe,” Aloupis said.

“These are the sorts of policies that will give our first responders the peace of mind they need to continue fighting for every Floridian.”

Aloupis has a background in child care. He serves as the CEO for The Children’s Movement of Florida, a 501(c) (3) organization aimed at making gains in early education.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


  • Maria Elena Delgado

    April 8, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    As a childcare owner and director I write to you with my concerns. Mainly, whether it is in good conscious for early care education centers to remain open during this disconcerting time. As you know all public schools in our nation have been closed as an effort help stop the spread and contamination of COVID-19 to students, teachers and, our communities, yet childcare centers remain open. I fully understand that many essential workers like first responders and health care workers need a safe place to leave their children, however with the closure of public schools parents have made arrangements with other family members or co-parents to not only supervise their school age children but also help with virtual learning. Why are our students (0-5year olds) and teachers left to fend for themselves and systematically discriminated during this pandemic? Our President, Government, and medical experts are asking for measures of social distance and stay at home orders, but childcare centers remain open. How can childcare centers comply with guidelines of social distance? I ask you; how can you ask a toddler to be six feet away from another toddler? How can our teachers protect themselves from contamination with the lack of protective wear like mask and gloves, how can they blow the little noses of our children without risking their own lives? I have been in the Early Care Education field for over 25 years, childcare workers have always been the unsung heroes and have lacked recognition for their work and dedication, but this time we are talking about saving their lives and the lives of our students and families. It feels that overall the government has forgotten to put in place protective measures for the early care education, and this can lead to detrimental results. Children may not be a high risk for the COVID-19 but they are carriers as per our health care experts, so I ask why are we risking the further spread? I understand and sympathize with health care workers that need child care, but not all 1500 child care centers in Miami Dade need to be open to serve those health care worker, perhaps have some to remain open but only to those essential workers that need it, and I would also like to see what assistance are these childcare workers will receive to meet the stringent demands in order to obliged by the CDS guidelines, and who will be checking if they are in compliance, I know that DCF workers like ELC workers are working in the safety of their homes, so I ask who will make sure these students and staff members are in a safe environment.

  • Fatima Zaldiba

    April 8, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    Childcares like public schools should remain closed. Public schools have not lost funding due to closure why should childcare centers have to expose children, staff, and our community to this virus and have to loose funding because we have a moral obligation to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and do as our government has requested and stay home.

  • Carmen Franco

    April 8, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    I agree, we should do everything possible to support our first responders. We cannot, however, afford to put at risk the safety, health, well being and the lives our our early care educators, and very vulnerable young children. As an early child care owner, I found it impossible to maintain appropriate distances among the students. They are young, active, and do not understand the boundaries being imposed. Although we were diligently disinfecting, and following the CDC guidelines, the parents I serve felt it safer to remain at home with their children. They are rightfully concerned about their children’s safety. We cannot risk outbreaks such as those that have occurred in multiple ALF’s and Senior Citizen Residential Homes. The yound are as vulnerable as the elderly. I feel a sense of responsibility not only to serve my community, but to safeguard my staff; staff that has been with me for over 20 years and provide care and education to our students. They too have expressed their fear, their concerns regarding their safety and the safety of the students they serve. Please take this to heart. We must protect everyone during these very difficult times. Maintaining centers open will create undue safety stress and concerns. Much thought has to be given to reach a balanced solution that will ensure everyone’s health is protected.

  • Kenia

    April 8, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    We are not just putting in risk our live ,we are risking our family ,what he is saying at this point is all complete wrong is attempting to the live of the whole country ,the whole country should be in quarantine,the only thing he is going to do is spread more the virus ,this is not a joke is a pandemic millions of people had died .

Comments are closed.


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