The National Women’s Law Center released a new report on child care during this COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey of states called, Child Care’s Struggle to Survive COVID-19: State Impacts and Response, released on May 12, 2020, says that, with the shutdown of many jobs and the economy, many child care programs have been forced to close or have seen a steep drop in enrollment. Some child care programs remain open to serve children of essential workers but are struggling to address both the safety and well-being of the children and families served as well as the safety of teachers and staff. The report also indicates that the impact is being felt by all types of providers, from centers to family child care homes to family, friend, and neighbor care providers.
The CARES Act, coronavirus bill number three, provided an additional $3 billion in emergency child care funding that can be spent on payments and assistance to child care providers in the case of decreased enrollment or closures, child care assistance, without regard to income, to health care sector employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers, and other workers deemed essential during the pandemic and funding to providers for the purposes of cleaning and sanitation and other activities necessary to maintain or resume the operation of programs.
The report indicates that of the initial 24 states reporting on the use of the new funds, states are:
• Offering grants to child care providers that are closed to help them sustain their businesses and/or reopen in at least eleven states.
• Offering grants to child care providers that remain open during the public health emergency in at least ten states.
• Provide child care assistance or free child care to essential workers in at least eight states.
• Offering incentives or bonuses to child care programs serving children of essential workers in at least four states.
• Providing incentive pay to child care workers serving children of essential workers in at least three states.
• Purchasing cleaning supplies for child care providers or make grants to child care programs so they can purchase cleaning supplies in at least five states.
The report is based on information through a survey from state administrators from late March to early May 2020 with supplemented information from state agency websites and other sources. Child Care advocates have been asking for a total of $50 billion, and according to estimates by CLASP and the National Women’s Law Center, the child care system will need at least $9.6 billion each month to survive the COVID-19 epidemic.