Covering the Pandemic Child Care Crisis
Experts discuss how existing inequities have been exacerbated in the strained sector
America’s system of child care was already seriously strained by surging expenses, high staff turnover and dwindling capacity before the pandemic upended everything.
“COVID really just highlighted the pre-existing situations and challenges of the early childhood system across the nation,” said Dionne Dobbins, the senior director of research at Child Care Aware of America, a research and advocacy group. “When COVID hit, it was layering it on top of a very fragile child care system — and, you know, some would say it even shattered.”
Meet Rebecca Rogers, a 27-year-old from Yakima. She’s a single mom of two young boys, ages 4 and 8 months. Her family of three qualifies for the Working Connections Child Care program, a state system that helps low-income families pay for child care so they can continue working or pursuing work.
The state pays a subsidy of the cost of care to providers, and parents make a co-payment based on their income. It covers child care for anything job-related — from applications to working hours. It’s a life-saver, Rogers said.
What’s on the Horizon for Early Childhood Education in 2021?
Local and national preschool efforts provide clues
Eight months into the pandemic, voters in Multnomah County, Oregon, approved a new tax on high earners to fund a program called Preschool For All.
The action represents a major early childhood investment during a recession that threatens to drive many child care providers out of business. It also puts forth a compelling model for solving some of the problems that publicly funded preschool and child care programs in other states and cities haven’t fully addressed.
Who’s Watching the Kids?
A community's struggle to address child care crisis amid COVID-19
(EWA Radio: Episode 247)
The coronavirus pandemic has forced most child care centers to close in an upstate New York community where affordable options for families were already in short supply.
Many education journalists covering the pandemic’s impacts on children and families are diving into the early learning and child care beat for the first time, given the massive disruption to this sector in communities nationwide. EWA is here to help!
Effectively covering the early learning and care sector requires understanding the complex world of child care policy and funding, including a dizzying array of federal and state programs, as well as costs, subsidies, reimbursements, eligibility, and tax credits.
EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat.
This multi-day conference is designed to give participants the skills, understanding, and inspiration to improve their coverage of education at all levels. It also will deliver a lengthy list of story ideas. We will offer numerous sessions on important education issues, as well as on journalism skills.