With millions of COVID-19 cases nationwide, child care providers have had to maneuver and innovate in extraordinary ways to address health and safety concerns while still experiencing reduced income or program closures. Imagine the day child care professionals can gather with staff to care for children and support families without the concern of contracting COVID-19. That day is coming, but only if we act now to stop the spread of COVID-19 so we may keep ourselves, our families, our communities and our country safe.
COVID-19 has sent many of us on a winding road of change and unprecedented challenges. As we now have three vaccines for the virus and the number of cases is starting to go down, many communities are starting to open up and return to a more “Pre-COVID-19” life. For many families, this means children returning to child care after having been away from the setting for a year or even longer.
Update: With news that the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is now law, Child Care Aware of America is republishing this resource to support states as they consider spending child care relief funds. ARPA provides $39 billion in child care relief, of which $15 billion in additional funding is made available through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). These funds can be distributed like the December relief funds ($10 billion) and the CARES Act relief funds ($3.5 billion), including towards the proposed policies detailed in this resource. The remaining $24 billion under ARPA will be made available through a separate child care stabilization fund.
The temperature is rising, and spring is in the air! As we edge slowly out of winter and increasingly spend more time outside our homes, we cannot dismiss the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to hang on. We are more than a year into this pandemic, and our second Spring Break season since the pandemic started is upon us. In 2021, Spring Break feels different than in 2020, when COVID-19 community restrictions first started and fear began to rise. Now, COVID-19 infection rates are going down in many communities and vaccines are becoming available and being distributed, which gives us hope. We seem to be turning the pandemic corner and starting to win the battle against COVID-19. However, we still need to do our best to reduce the risk of increasing the spread.
In December 2020, Congress funded a new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new PPP is more flexible than the original and allows prior PPP loan recipients to apply for a second loan under certain conditions. The PPP is now open for applications.
In September 2020, Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) released a report entitled Picking Up the Pieces: Building a Better Child Care System Post COVID-19. We compared child care supply data pre-COVID-19 (December 2019) to supply during COVID-19 (July 2020). Unsurprisingly, we found that the supply of licensed child care declined dramatically after the pandemic began. When compared to December 2019, 35% of child care centers remained closed, along with 21% of family child care (FCC) providers in July 2020.