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Child care workers are going hungry: 'We have a dollar store in town and sadly fill up on cheap junk to survive'

By CCAoA on March 06, 2022

USA Today

The growth in child-care prices exceeded the annual rate of inflation in 2020 and 2019, according to a report by Child Care Aware of America, a national nonprofit network of more than 400 agencies to help people access child care.

Inflation, low wages and workforce shortages are making it so that the industry cannot recover and offer pre-pandemic levels of child care to American families, said Mario Cardona, chief of policy and practice at Child Care Aware of America.

"These staff shortages are causing such emotional distress among the existing child care workforce that one in five early educators is considering leaving the child care field entirely," Cardona said.

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A historic child care investment saved centers from collapse. What happens when the money runs out?

By CCAoA on March 03, 2022

The 19th

The funding also came with a big promise to stabilize an industry that was in total collapse. About 1 in 3 child care workers lost their jobs at the onset of the pandemic, and more than 16,000 centers in 37 states had closed permanently by March 2021.

Anne Hedgepeth, the deputy chief of policy at Child Care Aware, a leading child care advocacy organization, said the funding has given states the flexibility to address key pressure points in their child care systems. Most states focused the bulk of their funding on worker retention, bonuses and raising staff pay. But the funding has also gone to make infrastructure and technology upgrades, create training programs, reach families in child care deserts, expand eligibility qualifications for families, lower costs, grow mental health consultation and create scholarships for workers seeking additional education.

“Where we find effective strategies, we’re gonna push every policymaker who will listen to help make those permanent,” Hedgepeth said. “Even resourcing something now will lead to long-term changes [through] just using the evidence that we’re gaining.”

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Child care now costs more than $10,000 per year on average—here’s why that’s a problem

By CCAoA on February 21, 2022

CNBC.com

Child care is getting more expensive than ever, forcing parents to spend an increasingly large portion of their paychecks on it, according to a recent report from Child Care Aware.

The “Demanding Change” report found that the national average annual cost of child care in 2020, the latest data available, was $10,174. That figure represents more than 10% of the median income for a married couple, and more than 35% percent of the median income for a single parent.

“One of the repercussions for parents that we’re starting to see is the exit of women from the workforce,” Child Care Aware senior data analyst Kristina Haynie tells CNBC Make It. “Sometimes it’s just not worth it to work because the money that you’re making is all going toward child care.”

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CCAoA CEO Featured on Actor Wilmer Valderrama's Podcast

By CCAoA on February 15, 2022

Child Care Aware of America CEO Dr. Lynette Fraga was featured on actor Wilmer Valderrama's podcast, Essential Voices, which is about essential workers.  

Dr. Fraga talked about the benefits of early childhood education and bilingual education, and she told new parents Wilmer and Amanda: "You have a degree in loving your child. That's the most important degree to have." 

The podcast episode also features Carolina Reyes, owner and director of the Arco Iris Bilingual Children's Center in Laurel, Maryland, who shared her passion for early childhood education even during the pandemic. 

Listen to the podcast episode.

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Child-care costs are outpacing inflation — the average cost of daycare for infants now exceeds in-state college tuition fees

By CCAoA on February 14, 2022

MarketWatch

With inflation at a 40-year high, families are feeling the pinch of higher prices at the grocery store checkout, on their home heating bill, and when they pay rent.

But there’s another expense that’s been growing even faster in recent years: child care. The growth in child-care prices exceeded the annual rate of inflation in 2020 and 2019, according to a new report from Child Care Aware.

The average annual cost of daycare for infants hit just over $12,300 in 2020, an increase of  $1,000 over the prior year. (The report used three different methods to calculate average prices ranging from $12,304 to $12,375.)

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16,000 Shuttered Child Care Programs Push the Sector Closer to Collapse

By CCAoA on February 14, 2022

EdSurge

Nearly 16,000 child care programs across 37 U.S. states have permanently closed since the pandemic began, representing a 9 percent decline in the total number of licensed child care providers, according to a new report published this month by Child Care Aware of America.

Though perhaps less severe than some of the worst-case scenarios laid out in early 2020, the loss of thousands of providers reflects an ever-worsening crisis in the field of early care and education, accelerated by—but not originating with—the arrival of COVID-19.

These closures are sure to have major effects on everyone touched by the child care industry, says Mario Cardona, Chief of Policy and Practice at Child Care Aware of America, a national membership association that works to improve child care and the early childhood profession and that conducted the survey which was the basis for the new report.

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America’s Childcare Providers Are Still Struggling to Survive

By CCAoA on February 11, 2022

Bloomberg

After the pandemic struck and lockdowns ensued, Congress included $3.5 billion for childcare in its initial rescue package in April 2020 and another $10 billion in a second bill that December. But at $39 billion, “the scale of the ARPA funding is very different,” said Anne Hedgepeth, senior director of federal and state government affairs at Child Care Aware of America, a network of childcare care resource and referral agencies.

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Providers faced additional challenges. Keeping employees and children uninfected is an expensive endeavor. Social distancing and other precautions necessarily limit the number of kids who can be safely accommodated—which in turn limits potential revenue. While most of the U.S. economy has suffered greatly as a result of the crisis, the childcare industry has been in the eye of the storm. 

And the storm isn’t over yet. “There’s a desperate and ongoing need for a lifeline,” Hedgepeth said.

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16,000 childcare providers shut down in the pandemic. It’s a really big deal

By CCAoA on February 09, 2022

Fortune Magazine

When thousands of childcare centers and day cares reopened after the COVID-19 lockdowns lifted in 2020, it seemed as if those businesses, and the families they served, were through the worst of it. 

Little did everyone know that two years later, an industry that was stretched to the brink even before the pandemic would be in still more turmoil, as childcare providers have been hit with a massive wave of closures. 

Nearly 16,000 childcare centers and licensed family childcare programs closed permanently between December 2019 and March 2021, according to a new report from Child Care Aware of America. Those closures are due, in large part, to increased operating costs, razor-thin profit margins, unpredictable attendance as a result of COVID, and rising labor costs owing to inflation.  

Those shuttered childcare providers represented a 9% decrease in childcare centers and day cares nationwide. And while that may seem low, the U.S. is already suffering from a dearth of childcare providers. Pre-pandemic, over half of Americans lived in areas considered “childcare deserts”—communities where there are either no childcare providers, or so few that there are three children for every open slot.

“Childcare programs are barely staying in business,” Lynette Fraga, CEO of Child Care Aware of America, a national nonprofit focused on childcare resources, said in a statement about the report. “Childcare programs are short-staffed, and providers are burned out."

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COVID Underscored the Need for Early Childhood Education. Are Fundraisers Seeing More Support?

By CCAoA on January 12, 2022

Inside Philanthropy

At the Arlington, Virginia-based Child Care Aware of America (CCAA), an umbrella organization of child care resource and referral agencies, Deputy Executive Officer Michelle McCready...reports a big uptick in interest and an expanded pool of new foundations and funders from adjacent issues. Institutions with a traditional focus on disaster relief, economic security, women’s issues and K-12 education now all see common cause with ECE and are responding positively to requests for support.

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Federal Aid Is Propping Up Child Care. It Isn't a Long-Term Fix.

By CCAoA on January 12, 2022

Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts)

Many of the recent proposals will likely be funded by American Rescue Plan Act funds—even if governors aren’t making that explicit, said Anne Hedgepeth, deputy chief of policy for Child Care Aware of America, a nonprofit that works with child care resource and referral agencies and advocates for child care policies. 

“You see relief [funds] driving it,” she said. 

Some states have started distributing the federal child care funds, but others still are working on their plans for the money. 

That’s partly due to timing, Hedgepeth said. In some states, legislatures need to approve the spending and didn’t have time to do so last session.

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