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.
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.
Ensuring children’s health and safety in child care is the top concern for any child care program, and child care emergency preparedness is vital to meeting this need. One way providers can strengthen safety practices in a child care program is to have a written emergency plan.
Child care providers run an evacuation drill with infants in 2019.
Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) recently joined over 300 local, state and national organizations in support of the Raise the Wage Act of 2021.
- Incrementally raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 and
- After 2025, adjust the minimum wage each year to keep with growth in the median wage.
Too often, decisions are made by a limited set of people in power. And far too often, those decisions fail to include and consider the people who are most affected by those decisions.
We’re living in a moment that demands bold leadership. And it requires that we embrace the strengths and opportunities of diverse voices to solve today's problems.
That's why I am launching a limited podcast series this year. It’s called A Seat at the Table: Conversations on Leadership, Equity and Innovation.