Child care providers across the country, many of whom were already struggling to stay open before this crisis, are facing even greater challenges as enrollment declines exponentially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while essential workers, including medical professionals and first responders, are finding that the child care supply is limited and under-resourced – verging on total collapse. Even the providers trying to remain open to care for the children of essential workers are struggling. If this industry collapses, our economic recovery will be more difficult and may never recover. America’s child care providers need more relief if they want to survive this crisis.
The situation varies from state to state, and even from community to community. Here’s a look at recent news coverage of the nation’s child care crisis.
Reporting from Business Insider has found that as many as 30 percent of child care providers will permanently close due to this pandemic if Congress fails to provide meaningful relief, and that it will be devastating for the careers of American women. According to the story, the United States has about 73 million children. Of those, 19 million live with single parents, and about 70% of single parents are single mothers. Access to child care is essential for them – and two-parent households with both parents working – to be able to go to work.
Across the country, millions of children are home with their parents, who are not going into work like they normally would. HuffPost is covering the personal stories and challenges parents are facing, including struggling to find child care during the crisis and the possibility of quitting their job completely to provide care to their children.
Reporting by CNN details the delays and disruptions to America’s economic recovery if we allow this crisis to further deplete the nation’s supply of child care options. As parents struggle to find child care and ultimately leave the labor force to care for their children there will be fewer workers returning to their jobs once this crisis ends. Child care is the backbone of our economy, and if we allow the industry to collapse and leave parents holding the ball, the economic recovery after this crisis will be slow and incomplete.
The Business Roundtable, a group of the chief executives of the nation’s largest businesses, highlighted the vital importance of child care to the American economy in a letter to the Trump Administration and state leaders. Without access to school programs or child care due to the health and safety concerns caused by the COVID-19 crisis, parents will struggle to return to work, further hurting our already struggling economy. Read their letter here.
This week, the New York Times took a look at the disparate patchwork of policies that are impacting access to child care across the country. As parents plan to return to work, the question of whether or not child care will be available is becoming increasingly important. The answer depends on the state and everyone’s levels of acceptable risk. Read more here.
Like in Texas, child care advocates across the country are urging their elected officials to consider the child care industry as they begin reopening their respective states. As Early Matters Greater Austin writes, child care plays a critical role in ensuring parents can return to work knowing their children are safe and healthy throughout the day. Without this safe care, the workforce cannot come back and the economy will suffer.