Join the Save Child Care Day of Action on Thursday, July 16

0
96
“Early Educators are Essential” T-shirts support local child care providers during the pandemic.

We are now entering the fifth month since schools closed in March, and while state and local education leaders debate the wisdom of reopening while COVID-19 cases continue to spike unchecked, there is a quieter, but equally significant consequence of the pandemic taking place.

Forty-one out of every 50 child care programs expects to close within the year if they don’t receive additional public support, according to data from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

According to a recent NAEYC survey, only 18 percent of early childhood programs are confident they will be able to stay open past a year without public assistance. Fifty percent of minority-owned programs are certain they will have to close without the help they need. And 86 percent of child care programs who responded to the survey are serving fewer children now than they were prior to the pandemic. Looking ahead to the fall, a full 63 percent of programs across all settings expect to be operating at or below 80 percent of enrollment.

At probably no other time in history have parents been more desperate for child care relief. And yet this new data makes something painfully clear: If help doesn’t come soon, there will be little left of child care to save.

In our state, the Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children (AzAEYC) has helped secure personal protective equipment (PPE) for teachers and hand sanitizer for child care programs that stayed open for first responders. AzAEYC also is working hard to secure additional public funding to support early learning programs so parents can get back to work and teachers and children can get back to their classrooms safely when the time comes.

Do you value access to quality child care? Here are four ways you can support the workforce behind the workforce: