The 2020 coronavirus pandemic is causing child care providers and parents to fall short. The providers and workers were hit hard initially; they lost about 350,000 jobs between February and April.
Ninety-five percent of those losing employment were women. Moreover, COVID-19 caused the student enrollment rate to decrease because many of the students’ parents lost their jobs.
In the United States, women make up for less than half of the overall workforce, but nearly all child care workers. Providers have struggled since the beginning of this pandemic due to the shutdown. The state’s closure is causing centers to strive to survive, the parents across the country are annoyed by the question of where to send their children while they work, and if its safe enough to enroll their children.
A parent in Eureka, California, Lynnika Bulter has been juggling for the last few months working from home and taking care of her 4-year-old son.
“We’re exhausted, we want him back in daycare so bad, to give us all a sanity break, but, you know, it seems crazy. so we have to like stretch it out as long as we can, I don’t know anything better to do,” said Butler
The cost of child care in the U.S is not a new problem. Studies have proven Daycare expenses were already getting more expensive each year. According to the census, the price is growing twice as fast as inflation since the 1990s. According to The National Women’s Law Center, the average cost for an infant is over 11,000 a year.
In July, the workforce was 20 percent smaller than it was pre-pandemic. In 2018 a study proved mothers that can afford to pay for Daycare are more likely to be employed. This situation had little to no impact on a father’s employment. Child care and employment are closely correlated.
The National Women’s Law Center and the Center for Law and social policy believe it will take nearly $10 billion per month to keep the child care system above water during the pandemic. $3.5 billion were provided in the first Cares Act; the advocates are asking for more.
According to Catherine White, director of Child care and Early Learning at The National Women’s Law Center, many families are unemployed due to the crisis and have lost their income. Many providers are facing rising costs and under-enrollment because parents can’t afford to pay.
Day-cares employ millions of caregivers across the United States “child care is largely viewed as an individual responsibility because it’s women that are doing the work.” White stated she believes policymakers have viewed it as a minor problem for women and not a big deal.
White believes it will take about $50 billion for the Child care sector to recover because of the size of the workforce and the impacts. Advocates point out that $50 billion is a big figure, but far from unheard of. In the cares act, for example, Congress gave the airline industry $58 billion.
“You have families who have lost their jobs or lost their income, and they’re thinking about going back to work without money to pay for child care. On the other side, you have child care providers facing rising costs, they’re serving fewer kids and having less revenue coming in, so they have to charge more, and parents can’t pay, and providers can’t charge less. Women are impacted, no matter where you look.”
Myra Jones-Taylor, the chief officer at Zero to Three, a nonprofit child care advocacy group, believes many facilities might end up closing. She stated:
We worry that most of these programs will not be able to reopen once the economy reopens, we are talking about an industry that is already operating at razor-thin margins.
The providers have a tight budget and do to the coronavirus pandemic crisis, the prices to take care of the children are increasing because the states have new regulations to re-open. The increase for providers and parents is causing many places to not re-open and parents not to afford child care expenses.
Written by Jessica Letcher
NBC News: Child care providers struggle as need for services remain for many; Molly Roecker and Ali Vitali
Marketplace: Child care, an industry struggling even before COVID-19, now in dire need; Erika Beras
Wbur: With Child Care Restrictions, Many Wonder If Parents Will Return To Group Care; Kathleen McNerney
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