Working parents across the country are scrambling to figure out how they will keep working and return to work as the child care industry struggles to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This is also true in Florida, where the Children’s Movement of Florida recently released results of their statewide parent survey on childcare in COVID-19.
With a vast majority of Florida parents relying on child care and preschool centers, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a strain on working families with 59% of parents saying that their child care programs were closed in May. Many of these child care slots at risk of disappearing permanently, according to recent surveys of child care providers in the state.
Some parents explained that they are unable to return to work since they do not have access to child care, and one mother said she “relied on daycare to survive.” Not only does a lack of child care impact a parent’s ability to return to work, it also affects early childhood development. Nearly one in three parents said that without child care or preschool, they are concerned that their children are missing out on critical learning opportunities in their early years.
A lack of accessible, affordable child care options impacts low-income Florida families in particular. Compared to families making $50,000 per year or more, families making less than $50,000 a year are more likely to have issues finding appropriate child care and therefore are less likely to send their children back to child care due to high costs or lob losses.
Roughly one in three families were concerned about sending their children back to their previous child care arrangements because of health and safety concerns. However, 43% of parents said that they are more comfortable sending their children back to child care if they know programs are following CDC measures.
To learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on Florida’s child care system, click here to view Florida’s state fact sheet.