FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Doris Easley is one of the many Fresno area child care providers feeling the hit of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday, she and many other parents and providers came together for a different kind of vigil.
The group memorialized the kids who've been left without care and the child care providers, like Easley, who've had to stop working.
"It was a painful decision to make. I've been a childcare provider for 16 years. I had to close my daycare due to COVID," Easley says.
She's not alone.
Child Care Providers United and Service Employees International Union (SEUI) members say 5,600 childcare businesses in the state have had to close due to the pandemic and loss of money.
In Fresno County, over 70 family childcare providers have had to close or become inactive.
"Bringing back new parents and children was a fear and a challenge," Easley says.
For parents like Alexandria Taylor, the closure is a big concern.
She's a working mother who's also taking online classes.
Luckily, she had family to help, but says childcare is a big need for her and many parents during the pandemic.
Providers, however, say there was a crisis even before the coronavirus as they say childcare was underfunded.
They want Governor Gavin Newsom to step in and up funding for child care before more are forced to close.
According to the state legislative analyst's office, next year's budget act is expected to provide about $5.5 billion for early education.
According to the California Legislative Analyst's office, next year's budget act is expected to provide about $5.5 billion for Early Education Programs, which is reduction of about $102 million from the previous year's budget.
The SEUI has been meeting with state officials in hopes of getting more help in the near future.
Parents, childcare providers asking for state help to prevent more closures
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