A new paper from the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance (ECQA Center) explains how their Provider Cost of Quality Calculator can help states and policy makers understand the cost of COVID-19 mitigation efforts in early learning and care settings.
The Calculator is a free, online tool that estimates the cost of care based on various inputs by care settings such as: subsidy payment rates, grants, and costs. Recently, the ECQA Center has adjusted the calculator to include key costs associated with the pandemic to better understand the current financial picture of child care providers. The ECQA Center hopes that this resource can help policy makers design financial supports that adequately meet provider needs due to rising costs.
With rising costs and declining revenues, an increasing number of providers are on the brink of financial collapse. To meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance providers have had to alter drop-off and pick-up procedures, implement social distancing, intensify cleaning measures, provide personal protective equipment (PPE), and maintain altered group ratios. Meeting these guidelines, while also often dealing with reduced enrollment and revenue, may require additional staff and materials, meaning additional costs. Together, these factors have created tremendous hardship for providers.
The ECQA Center’s work confirms research from the Center for American Progress (CAP) that found the true cost of child care increased 47% in center-based care and 70% in home-based care during the pandemic.
You can read more about the Calculator and the ECQA Center here.