“It’s the unknown...we don't know how long this is going to be. It’s a lot of ‘what ifs.’ That’s just a really hard place for us to be in.” - Pandemic childcare provider.
Top takeaways from our recent COVID-19 emergency support brainstorm with daycare providers:
Many childcare providers, including pandemic centers, are closing their doors.
Childcare providers we spoke with, including those designated as pandemic providers, were struggling to have enough children to stay open. In fact, multiple pandemic centers indicated that they were closing as of last week.
Provide incentives and grants for childcare centers to stay open, including a change in the requirement around private payment. The majority of providers we spoke with were already 4 and 5-star rated, meaning that receiving 5-star pay to stay open while serving a smaller number of children does not make sense for them financially. Additionally, many providers and parents thought they would be eligible for free childcare, but with the change to requiring private pay, fewer parents are willing to send their children to childcare centers. Childcare is an absolute necessity, especially for working parents. It’s critical that these centers, many of which are black- and women-owned businesses, are able to weather this uncertain time so that they can reopen and serve their families. Creating loans and grants for centers could help them sustain their business during this time.
“My landlord just texted me today and asked me when I was going to have her rent. It's not due until the 15th. I get it though.”
Childcare Center directors need clearer and more direct information from the state. Regulations around pandemic centers seem to be changing everyday with very little regard to ensuring that providers are knowledgeable about current events. Creating a centralized place where providers can get up-to-date information on what’s going on and what resources are available will be helpful.
“What you listened to yesterday, that’s changed to something different the next day.”
Hospitals and other essential businesses should consider partnering with existing local childcare care centers. Traditional daycare centers may now be in competition with hospitals and agencies who are now allowed to create an on-site center. Daycare providers suggested that they would be open to partnering with hospitals, including lending their staff.
Daycare providers are concerned about their families and staff lacking access to basic needs. Childcare providers know that the diapers, wipes, formula and other items they provide the kids and families they serve are critical. Like most individuals who work with children and families, providers care deeply about their individuals that they serve, and are concerned that they don’t have the items they need. Organizations should work with providers to get lists from them to identify who might be most at risk.
“I’m most concerned about my staff having what they need and that parents have what they need...diapers, wipes...things that we normally provide.”