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Brief Identifies Key Considerations for More Equitable Access to Child Care During COVID-19 Crisis

Resource August 21, 2020

This week, Child Trends released a new resource for state and local policy makers as they look to support child care providers and families during the pandemic. 

The brief highlights groups of child care providers, families, and young children that may be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Researchers identified four groups who may be disproportionately impacted: children living in households with low-incomes or experiencing parental job-loss; families who are essential workers; rural families with limited child care options; and providers at risk of permanent closure without additional support. This report highlights the unique needs of these groups — and offers strategies for state and local policy on policy makers to find solutions to these challenges. Researchers offer two sets of recommendations: one to ensure that families can equitably access and afford child care and another set of recommendations to ensure that providers can safely re-open and remain open. 

To support families during this time of economic uncertainty, Child Trends recommends that state and local officials: collect data from providers to connect families with open child care options and provide additional resources to families looking for non-traditional hour care;  consider how the changing economic climate because of job-loss or child care closures may impact families’ need for child care subsidies; and finally, consider how to support children and families with special needs. Helping families navigate finding care when their typical child care arrangements may be disrupted is critical for parents’ ability to work and children’s safety.

While families rely on care to work, they can only access care if programs are available and safe for children to return. Child Trends’ also provides recommendations to better support child care providers during this uncertain time including: ensuring providers have access to small business financial supports, providing technical assistance for providers so they can implement health and safety best-practices; collecting data about the impact of the pandemic on providers; and track key demographic information about closures to ensure adequate supply of care. 

Considering the challenges that COVID-19 presents for child care providers, families, and young children is critical to ensuring that we as a nation can recover from the pandemic. To read the full report click here

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