Aaron Frey. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

The BDN is making the most crucial coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact in Maine free for all readers. Click here for all coronavirus stories. You can join others committed to safeguarding this vital public service by purchasing a subscription or donating directly to the newsroom.

Maine’s attorney general has joined a group including more than 20 of his counterparts to call for the federal government to provide financial help for child care providers in the next round of stimulus money.

Attorney General Aaron Frey said Tuesday that he and other attorneys general believe the nation’s child care system needs help for families to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. They sent a letter to the leadership of the U.S. Senate that said the next stimulus bill must address child care.

The pandemic has closed or reduced service at child care centers around the country, leaving them without revenue to pay for payroll, rent, insurance and other costs, Frey said. The attorneys general said the child care system also needs broader reforms, as it’s too expensive for many families.

Frey made the statement as Maine officials and residents continue to fight the toll of the pandemic. Maine officials have reported more than 3,500 cases of the virus in the state since the start of the pandemic. They’ve also reported more than 100 deaths.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause severe symptoms like pneumonia.