During the COVID-19 pandemic, parents have had to balance working or seeking work, protecting their own and their children’s health and safety, and managing their children’s education despite child care programs being closed or offering reduced services. For Black and Latino families, these challenges have been more pronounced.

Institutional and systemic racism has contributed to these families experiencing disparities in access to jobs, education, and health care. Occupational segregation has also disproportionately concentrated workers of color in low-paying jobs that require in-person work. Black and Latino parents have been more likely to experience unemployment and material hardship, more likely to face the health risks of COVID-19, and less likely to move to teleworking because of these disparities.

Combined with the reduced access to child care due to the pandemic, these challenges have forced many Black and Latino parents to continue to go to work while worrying about how to keep their children safe. Other parents, most commonly mothers, have dropped out of the labor force to care for their children or have lost their jobs and can’t look for work because they don’t have child care.

To promote an equitable economic recovery and better support families, policymakers can use the child care funds allocated in the recent COVID-19 relief package through the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), as well as any additional funds that come from the COVID-19 relief package being debated in Congress, in three immediate ways.

  1. Make child care assistance available for parents looking for work
  2. Make child care subsidies available for parents participating in education and training
  3. Ensure families can receive child care assistance to pay for a full range of child care options

Read the full article about funding child care agencies by Gina Adams and Sarah Minton at Urban Institute.