Lack of child care poses major hurdle as businesses reopen

By CCAoA on May 28, 2020

The Hill

Child care remains a central obstacle to reopening the economy as the school year ends and camps and summer programs remain on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Without child care, there’s no recovery,” said Lynette Fraga, executive director of non-profit Child Care Aware of America.

“As states are starting to reopen and parents are heading back to work, the children are in need of care,” Fraga said.

Adding significantly to the problem is the major hit child care businesses have taken during the pandemic.

“I think one major piece that is so critical to focus on is that when demand increases, there are going to be fewer child care slots available and working parents are going to have a really tough time accessing affordable child care.”

In order to stave off further coronavirus outbreaks, child care centers will be forced to accommodate smaller numbers of children in the same space, regularly take children’s temperatures, implement social distancing, and institute a bevy of new sanitization instructions.

“That turns upside down the business model for the child care providers,” said Fraga.

“What’s really needed is support ensuring that when PPE is needed, providers have it, when sanitizing equipment and supplies are needed, they have it,” she added, referring to personal protective equipment.

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Many child care facilities remain closed. Who will watch kids as parents return to work?

By CCAoA on May 27, 2020

PBS NewsHour

Who will care for the children of working parents when they return to their jobs, if schools and many child care providers remain closed? The CARES Act allocated $3.5 billion to support child care programs, but a national organization says many providers have yet to receive any funding. Special correspondent Cat Wise reports from Oregon, where a shortage of child care slots preceded the pandemic.

This story includes an interview with CCAoA Executive Director Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D.

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States Can't Fully Reopen With Child Care Centers Still Closed

By CCAoA on May 22, 2020

Bloomberg News

As states around the country attempt to restart their economies, lack of child care will continue to keep some people—mostly women—from getting back to work.

“The pandemic has focused the nation’s attention on the fact that access to child care is a really critical part of our economic health,” said Ami Gadhia, the policy chief for Child Care Aware, an industry advocacy group. She added that without emergency funding many providers will be forced to close permanently, citing a survey from the National Association for the Education of Young Children that estimates up to 63% of the industry will go out of business without help from Congress.

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Top 5 Questions for Parents to Ask About Child Care Health and Safety During COVID-19

By CCAoA on May 20, 2020

As states begin to reopen and parents start heading back to work, many are wondering if it’s safe to send their child to a child care program. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidelines for reopening child care, schools, and businesses, but child care providers need personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies, guidance from Child Care Resource and Referral agencies, and financial support to be able to implement these guidelines.  
 
To help parents make child care decisions during the pandemic, we created a Top 5 list of questions for parents to ask about child care health and safety, based in part on the CDC’s guidelines. For more details, see our blog post and fact sheet.  

  1. What happens if an enrolled child or staff member gets sick with COVID-19? How will you communicate with families if this happens and will the program close?  
  2. What social/physical distancing measures are you taking in your child care program to mitigate the spread of COVID-19? 
  3. Will my child need to wear a face covering when he/she is in child care? 
  4. How will drop off and pick up procedures change? 
  5. Under what circumstances will I be able to enter the child care program? 

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Affordable child care is increasingly difficult to find in the U.S.—coronavirus could make it harder

By CCAoA on May 15, 2020

CNBC.com

Day cares, preschools and child-care providers nationwide are facing a tough road as they attempt to provide safe, quality care to children while navigating the ever-changing challenges posed to their businesses. And experts say that many providers may not make it.

“We’re going to lose a lot of child care at a time when we really need it,” says Lynette Fraga, executive director of Child Care Aware of America. “If workers are unable to find child care, they’re not going to be able to go back to work — and that is problematic.” 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines that encourage providers to establish smaller class sizes, equip staff with appropriate protective gear, increase sanitation routines, provide training for teachers and facility employees and attempt to put social distancing procedures into place.

“There is expense associated with all of that,” Fraga says. “Sanitizing equipment costs money,” she says, adding that the lower ratio of children to teachers and smaller group sizes have “flipped the business model upside down on its head.”

In fact, American families regularly pay over $11,000 a year to send their infant to a child-care center, about $10,000 for toddlers and over $9,000 for four-year-olds, according to Child Care Aware of America’s 2019 report.

“We’re really at a tough place,” Fraga says. “There are a lot of unknowns on the horizon. So it’s important that the U.S. really pay attention to what it’s going on take and be willing to invest and support child-care providers. It’s not just about the safety and development of children,” Fraga says, “it’s an economic equation, too.”

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CCAoA Partners with CARE USA to Support Child Care Providers

By CCAoA on May 15, 2020

Child Care Aware® of America is pleased to announce a partnership with the international humanitarian organization CARE® USA to bring CARE Packages® to child care providers who are caring for the children of those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. At this time, the effort is focused on 10 states that are especially hard hit. We know that providers are having a difficult time right now finding supplies and keeping their doors open.

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‘The payment came too late’: Maryland child care centers ponder long-term consequences of coronavirus pandemic

By CCAoA on May 13, 2020

Baltimore Sun

According to Child Care Aware of America, a nonprofit designed to assist families with child care, 24 states reported a decrease in child care programs from 2017 to 2018.

In a letter addressed to members of the U.S. Congress, Child Care Aware of America urged increased investment in child care programs across the country, specifically asking for at least $50 billion in aid as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This funding would not only help provide emergency care for health care workers and other essential personnel in the immediate term,” the nonprofit wrote, “but would also prevent child care programs from closing permanently and help working families access these programs upon their return to work in the months ahead.”

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The Forgotten Essential Workers: Women of Color in Child Care

By Lynette Fraga, Ph.D. on May 12, 2020

Real Clear Policy

By Lynette M. Fraga & Renee Boynton-Jarrett

As politicians and pundits rightfully praise essential workers during this pandemic, rarely does anyone mention another group of genuine heroes: those who care for the children of other essential workers. Could it be that because these workers are disproportionately women of color, their service is overlooked and undervalued? While women of color represent only 20% of the American population, they comprise 40% of the roughly 1.5 million child care workers in the United States.

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Kids can’t be an ‘afterthought’: Some states are reopening without lifting child care restrictions

By CCAoA on May 08, 2020

CNBC Online

The delay in reopening child-care centers in some states may not be due to a lack of planning, but rather, an abundance of coordination and caution. “This isn’t a light switch that we’re going to be turning back on again — there’s a real runway needed and some real thought that needs to be put into how we effectively open up child care again,” says Lynette Fraga, executive director of Child Care Aware of America.

Child Care Aware of America is tracking and updating daily the status of each state’s child care availability and any restrictions put in place amid the coronavirus pandemic

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Need for child care presents hurdle to restarting economy

By CCAoA on May 07, 2020

MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell Reports

Andrea Mitchell is joined by Mark Shriver, President of Save the Children Action Network, and Lynette Fraga, Executive Director of Child Care Aware of America, to talk about how the availability of child care services is essential for parents with children to be able to return to work as many schools remain closed and child care providers remain unavailable.

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