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Kansas Citians voice concerns about child care as Gov. Parson ends federal unemployment benefits

Silvia Graham.png
Posted at 10:05 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 23:50:03-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Missouri Gov. Mike's Parson's decision to end six federal unemployment benefits on June 12 has struck a chord with many in Kansas City.

"I think it’s unfair for them to say that they don’t want to accept any more money," resident Silvia Graham said.

It's been a tough year for Graham, as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted her life dramatically.

"I had to quit my job because I couldn’t get to the job because all the day cares were closed," Graham said. "Schools just closed, so it was very devastating."

The single mother of two received some unemployment benefits for her family to get by and said she visited food pantries "constantly" to have food at home for two to three weeks.

Similarly, child care providers told 41 Action News they've seen first hand the struggles many families are going through.

"People that are trying to return to the workforce, it’s even more difficult trying to find a place for a child under the age of three," said Deidre Anderson, CEO of United Inner City Services, which teaches an arts-based curriculum to children. "If we want people to go to work, if we want people to not worry about their kids, or call in because they don’t have care for their children, we as a community are going to have to figure this out."

Anderson said she believes there should be certain exceptions that allow some federal benefits to continue, as the school year nears its end and child care centers are mostly full due to pandemic-induced capacity limits.

"What I hope is that there are additional benefits that are made available to local communities to really enhance and expand summer programming options," Anderson said.

Parson said during a news conference on Tuesday that the federal unemployment benefits were always meant to be temporary, and leaving them in place was incentivizing workers from returning to the workforce.

The six programs impacted are:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance;
  • Emergency Unemployment Relief for Government Entities and Nonprofit Organizations;
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation;
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation;
  • 100 Percent Reimbursement of Short-Time Compensation Benefit Costs Paid Under State Law; and
  • Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation.

The federal programs provided an extra $300 per week for some Missourians.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services currently offers assistance in locating child care providers for those returning to work.