BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) - Dozens of child care centers are urging legislators to allow federal funding for their industry.
Idaho Governor Brad Little is recommending $99 million from the American Rescue Plan to support child care, but those funds are stuck in the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee.
Child care providers are worried the money won't be approved before the legislative session ends.
BYU-Idaho faculty member and former child care provider Betty McQuain says this is not only a crisis for their industry, but a crisis for Idaho's economy.
"We are teetering on the brink of a disaster," McQuain said. "We are not far from falling into a situation in which only the wealthy will only be able to afford childcare. And the most needy and vulnerable of Idaho citizens will bear the greatest costs."
The non-profit group Idaho Voices for Children says more than 220 child care centers have closed across Idaho since the pandemic started.
They say if the funding is not approved, families will have nowhere to turn.
About 40 centers in theTreasure Valley area closed for the day so their staff could talk to legislators at the statehouse.
Part of the money would be allocated for providers to pay personnel costs, rent or mortgage payments and other services necessary to maintain child care services.