Giving Compass' Take:

• Lillian Mongeau reveals the impending dangers of losing vital child care services from economic and public health shocks related to the coronavirus.

• How can you support improved government response in funding child care services?

• Discover where your funding can have the greatest impact for coronavirus relief.

Dominated by small businesses, the country’s child care “system” has long been at a breaking point. Child care is expensive to operate and to provide, yet families are largely left to pay for it themselves while providers eke out a living on meager profits.
Without it, parents juggling child care with working from home, or unable to afford care while they’re laid off, could find their provider is closed when they return to work.

So far, little direct help has been offered. The latest relief package, the CARES Act, provides $3.5 billion for the government subsidy program aimed at providers who serve low-income families and another $750 million for Head Start, the federal care and education program for families living in poverty. There’s also $350 billion slated for forgivable small-business loans, which most child care programs would be eligible for, and robust unemployment benefits to support laid-off workers in all fields.

That is not enough specific help for child care, advocates say.

Conditions for child care were already tenuous before the global pandemic, said Rhian Evans Allvin, chief executive officer at NAEYC, a national professional association for child care providers. “The economics are fragile in good times,” she said. “When a crisis like this hits, it is devastating to the child care field.”

Many advocates have released statements or said in interviews that not acting decisively to help the industry now could have dire consequences for America’s fragile patchwork of child care services in the future.

Despite its flaws, the dissolution of the child care services we have now would result in dire consequences for the rest of the economy.

Read the full article about child care services and COVID-19 by Lillian Mongeau at The Hechinger Report.