The Office of Child Care (OCC) has released guidance on the $24 billion Child Care Stabilization grants made available through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. The purpose of the guidance is to help states quickly distribute the stabilizations funds to protect and support the existing child care market. As the guidance emphasizes, this funding represents an important opportunity for states to stabilize and rebuild a stronger child care system that meets the diverse needs of all children and families, and of the child care workforce.
When matched with children’s interests, summer camps with safe, healthy environments and practices can be fun places for children to learn and grow. Whether they’re day camps or sleepaways, summer camps can support children’s learning and development. Camps can also serve as safe places for children to be while their parents are at work.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the child care system in the United States was already fragile and underfunded. The U.S. spends less than 0.5% of GDP on child care, which is far lower than the majority of developed countries.
In addition, children of color and children from low-income families are less likely to be enrolled in high-quality child care programs. Child care staff are undervalued and underpaid, and female caregivers, especially women of color, bear the brunt of formal and informal care.
Disruptions to the child care industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic have created financial hardships and other challenges for child care providers. Child care programs that were closed may re-open only to close again due to outbreaks of the virus in their program, an uptick in community spread, staff shortages or simply because their business models are no longer sustainable. Meanwhile, for many parents, it can be difficult to find alternative child care arrangements. And for employers, disruptions to child care impact their abilities to have employees that are consistently present to meet work requirements and commitments.
Celebrate child care professionals on May 7! Join Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) in saying thank you to providers for taking care of our nation’s children. To say that being a child care provider this past year has been challenging would be an understatement. Providers were essential long before COVID-19, but the pandemic has underscored how essential child care is. Child care provides opportunities for families to go to work, children to learn, businesses to operate and the economy to grow. Child care providers are “opportunity makers.” Child care providers are brain-builders. They are among our nation’s unsung heroes!
As the COVID-19 pandemic inundated the child care system, Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) received helpful funds from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy to support and provide relief to Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) member organizations across the country. In the summer and fall of 2020, CCAoA used the funds to provide CCR&Rs with resources to meet pressing needs within their communities.