In order to gain a better understanding of the challenges facing New Jersey children, parents and other caretakers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Assembly Women and Children (AWC) Committee received testimony on the subject Wednesday. Invited guests provided information regarding the effects of COVID-19 on children’s health and well-being, as well as the pandemic’s impact on the childcare industry.
Upon the conclusion of the hearing, AWC Chair Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester) released the following statement:
“This pandemic has placed parents, pediatricians, childcare providers and many other caretakers in situations they have never encountered before. For the past several months, kids throughout New Jersey have been taken out of social and educational settings, have witnessed drastic changes taking place around them and may have even lost loved ones to a deadly new virus.
“These changes took place suddenly and unexpectedly, and have posed a number of challenges caretakers have had to adapt to. One such group we heard from today are the professionals in child care centers.
“Right now, the childcare industry is struggling to survive due to significant revenue losses and an increased cost of care. The centers that are able to reopen will have to alter the number of children they can accept and the procedures they follow in order to keep kids healthy. As more and more parents begin returning to work, they will need somewhere to bring their children that they know is safe. We need to support these centers to make sure childcare remains an available option for our residents.
“In addition, we learned more about the new Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children that has already occurred in more than 40 New Jersey children and teenagers who were infected with COVID-19. This inflammatory syndrome can cause serious symptoms that need to be identified and treated as early as possible. It’s important that we continue to monitor this syndrome, raise awareness about its manifestation and address the possible implications of its existence on our state’s reopening plan.
“I want to thank each of the guests who provided insight into these issues during today’s hearing. Ultimately, the safety and well-being of our children will remain this committee’s top priority as we adapt to the ‘new normal’ our state faces.”