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.
2020 was a challenging year for everyone. Not only did the nation deal with the challenges, fears and losses associated with a global pandemic, but many individuals across the country were faced with an added hurdle of natural disasters during an already stressful and difficult time.
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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.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. In most states, child care providers are mandated reporters and have been trained to recognize signs that a child is experiencing abuse and respond appropriately. However, child care providers can also play a role in preventing child abuse before it begins. Stress and lack of parenting skills can increase the risk for abuse. As child care providers, you are an important part of families’ support systems and can encourage and educate parents. Here are four ways you can support parents and prevent child abuse.
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.