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Supplies & Guidance Needed as Day Care System Suffers Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Apr 02, 2020    |   COVID-19 Resources & Information

An article from the Los Angeles Times shares the challenges facing child care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many ECE professionals who have stayed open throughout the past few weeks are feeling pressure to care for young children during an extremely stressful time marked by financial struggles, a lack of necessary supplies, and little support or guidance.

The need for child care during the coronavirus emergency is hard to overstate. Care for the children of healthcare workers and other essential service providers is vital as hospitals are busy with high numbers of patients. And, as many larger schools have closed, child-care facilities play an important role in absorbing the impact. Click here to read the full article, or read through some of the highlights below.

  • Some child care providers have seen attendance shrink as parents are laid off. Other providers are overwhelmed with new requests for care, but have little guidance about when and how to take on new families.

  • Close to 30% of healthcare workers in California have children under 14. If even a fraction of these workers were forced to stay home due to lack of child care, it could exacerbate the extreme staffing shortages many hospitals now predict.

  • On March 16, state social services issued new guidance to preschools and day care providers.

    • New guidelines include stepped-up cleaning and sanitation procedures that require materials such as gloves and disinfectant. Yet, home day care operators buy these items from big-box stores where shelves are empty.

    • New guidelines also eased staffing ratios, including for hundreds of thousands Trustline certified caregivers who can now watch up to 10 children from different families together, just as licensed providers do.

  • The lack of coordinated emergency help for home-based child care providers is rooted in CA’s disjointed state preschool and early childhood education system.

  • On March 18, the CA Department of Education announced it would continue to pay for state-subsidized care through June 30.

  • Many early childhood education advocates fear the crisis will accelerate the increasing rate of permanent closures of home child care businesses.

    • Although California added more than 3,000 spots in stand-alone early childhood education centers between 2017 and 2019, many home day-cares closed in that same period, because most operate without any financial cushion and many older caregivers are retiring.

    • Cristina Alvarado, executive director of Child Care Alliance of Los Angeles, said the pandemic’s full impact on home day care centers may not be felt for months.

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