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Growing Child Care Crisis Impacting Parents Returning to Work

Resource May 21, 2020

Extended closures have forced nearly half of child care providers to close their doors and those still operating or reopening will have to operate on financial losses for months to come as a result of new social distancing requirements and low enrollment, as parents slowly return to work. The situation varies from state to state, and even from community to community.

Here’s a look at recent news coverage and analysis of the nation’s child care crisis.

  • In a scathing New York Times op-ed this week, Lauren Birchfield Kennedy and Katie Mayshak articulate why the child care industry shouldn’t be lumped in with other industries to compete for loans. “Child care providers are perpetually strapped for cash and typically have minimal or no operations infrastructure, putting them at a significant disadvantage when it comes to the Hunger Games of securing federal small-business assistance, such as Paycheck Protection Program loans… Hopefully, your neighborhood spin studio will survive. Unfortunately, your day care probably won’t.”
  • The Washington Post is reporting on the effect this pandemic has had on child care and the potential impact on women’s employment, in particular, as widespread child care closures will mean some parents and families will be forced to choose between returning to work or staying home with their children. For many families, of course, there isn’t an option in choosing whether or when to return to work. Read more.
  • Concerns about the health and safety of children and educators are front and center in the minds of parents and it has made some uneasy about recent federal and state efforts to reopen child care centers and schools. According to a new poll released by Politico and Morning Consult 44 percent of voters oppose the administration’s efforts to reopen child care facilities.
  • We continue to see reports from across the country that parents returning to work are struggling to find child care. In Hawaii, social distancing requirements that protect the health of children and teachers are forcing providers to reduce the number of available spaces for children. Texas child care centers are reopening under new health guidelines that have created concerns for providers and parents alike. Parents remain concerned about the loss of child care as they return to work, and providers are struggling to make ends meet while reducing enrollment to meet social distancing requirements.
  • As New America reports, Patricia Moran still opens Creative Learning Center, a family home child care center in San Jose, California, at 6am every morning, and stays open until 6pm in the evening. She applied for but didn’t receive one of the Paycheck Protection Program loans Congress created to help small businesses stay afloat: “The answer was, ‘I’m sorry, but the funds are completely gone.’” What bothers Moran is that no one seems to notice—not only that child care providers are risking their lives to stay open, but that so many may go under. “I feel like we’re invisible,” she said.
  • As you know, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, which includes some emergency funding for child care through the CCDBG program, however, we know that far more federal support is needed to ensure the child care market will survive this crisis. Understanding that this critical industry needs significant, dedicated relief from Congress, a group of lawmakers sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy calling for additional assistance through a Child Care Stabilization Fund to support child care providers during this crisis and through the economic recovery.

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