Yesterday, Korin Schmidt, Director of the Wyoming Department of Family Services, delivered a report to Joint Labor/Health. She highlighted the ongoing COVID-19 impacts on women and families. Two points stood out to us:
Nick Reynolds, at the Casper Star Tribune, listened and immediately grasped the gravity of the situation. He reached out to our team and wrote this piece for the CST: Demands for food, child care assistance growing in Wyoming.
“The far-reaching health and economic effects of COVID-19 and widespread business closures to limit its spread have made it even more difficult for many low-income households to afford food, given how many have lost jobs and income and still have bills to pay,” Jennifer Simon, the executive director of the Wyoming Women’s Action Network and senior policy adviser at the Equality State Policy Center, wrote in an email. “Part of what this crisis has revealed are the gaps in our current system and the degree to which our school system provided some relief for gaps in the current system — namely around food security. More children than we realized got more nutrition than we realized during the school day from their schools.”
The high number of child care facilities across the state that have remained shuttered during the crisis could have greater impacts to the state’s economy as well. Between March and April, nationally, approximately 336,000 child care workers nationwide lost their jobs, while thousands of closures across the country have resulted in a nationwide vacancy of 450,000 child care slots.
“What this means is that the labor force participation of mothers, in particular, is likely to suffer,” Simon wrote. “And that’s coming at a time when Wyoming’s economy really needs the contributions of women as well as men.”