HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — On June 21, members of the child care industry made their case at the Pennsylvania capitol for more state funding. A statewide survey showed that nine out of ten child care programs are facing staffing shortages; This is caused approximately 1,600 child care programs to close during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The first is no longer, ‘When do you want to enroll?’ It’s, ‘Let me see if we have space for you or if I have a spot open.’ This is due directly as a result of our agency not being able to hire enough staff members,” said Erin Rinn, Child Care Operator at Today’s Child Learning Centers & Warwick Child Care Center.

Child care operators say the multi-billion dollar budget surplus means the Pennsylvania legislature can afford invest in the industry and help boost wages.

The state’s budget deadline is due on June 30.