StoryCorps, a national nonprofit whose mission is to record, preserve and share the stories of Americans from all backgrounds, and Child Care Aware® of America recently partnered on a project to interview child care providers. The providers were asked about their personal journey in the child care field and the impact of COVID-19 on their work and life.
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.
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.
In the same way that the pandemic exacerbated the cracks in our child care system, COVID-19 also exacerbated the inequities that exist in our country and for children living in poverty. Data from the Children’s Defense Fund shows that children are the poorest age group in America, with nearly 1 in 6 children, about 11.9 million, living in poverty in 2018. Additionally, the youngest children tend to be the poorest and 73% of children living in poverty are children of color.
The good news is that change is coming. Earlier this month, Congress passed and the President signed into law the American Rescue Plan (ARP), a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.
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.