PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Sen. Jack Reed met with local child care leaders on Wednesday to call upon Congress to make changes to a system in crisis.

Among their concerns are the rising cost of care and the difficulty of finding and properly paying workers in that industry.

Reed is co-sponsoring a bill called the Child Care for Working Families Act, which he said would cap the amount most families would have to pay for child care to a percentage of their income.

He also said the measure would help support child care providers, citing a national report that found 700,000 providers could go out of business without help, further driving up the cost of care.

Rhode Island Kids Count recently found that only 10% of Rhode Islanders can afford child care right now, leading the organization to categorize the system as “unworkable for most families.”

The state received $93 million specifically for affordable child care under the American Rescue Plan Act. But Reed said he’s concerned that some of the provisions for child care put in place during the pandemic will soon disappear, worsening the problem.

“We need to go ahead and continue the kind of support we did during COVID to help child care, which means helping our businesses,” Reed said. “Without good child care, it’s very difficult for many, many people to work.”

“Child care not only allows for parents to work but it also gives children the kind of preparation, the kind of development that sets them on the road to success in later life,” he continued.