Survey: NC Child Care Centers Struggling to Hire and Retain Staff
North Carolina child care providers are finding it difficult to hire and retain qualified staff as the state continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey. As a result, nearly one-third (32%) of child care providers have abruptly closed classrooms with little notice to parents. Despite providers offering increased salaries and benefits to staff, more than 80 percent of child care centers surveyed report that it is more difficult to hire staff now than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Child Care, a Critical Service for Families, Remains Inaccessible for Many
For many families, child care is a necessity. In 2019, there were 73 million children in the U.S., which is about 22% of the U.S. population. But child care can be prohibitively expensive. The average cost is about $10,000 a year per child, according to the Treasury Department. This often forces parents to make a decision: pay for child care or quit their job.
Gov. Cooper recently signed a measure that sets aside $805 million in new funding for early childhood education centers statewide that have been hurt financially by the pandemic.
Programs that qualify for the North Carolina Child Care Stabilization Grants can use the money for a range of needs, including: personnel costs; payments for rent, mortgage, utilities, facility maintenance or insurance; PPE; equipment and supplies.
With child care unaffordable and hard to find, many parents struggle to stay employed
Parents — low-wage earners in particular — are struggling to secure affordable child care as the industry grapples with financials that don't add up for child care operators, families, and workers.
But cost isn't the only factor making care hard to find. Many child care facilities have had to slash their capacity because of understaffing and because of the need to maintain social distancing as young children remain unvaccinated, leaving fewer spots open for families looking for child care.
Can the U.S. create universal pre-K without repeating past mistakes?
Part of the $3.5 trillion legislative package that President Joe Biden and many Democrats are trying to get through Congress would allocate $450 billion to stand up a nationwide, free pre-K program for 3- and 4-year-olds. It would also invest in child care, creating more centers, subsidizing the majority of the cost of care and raising pay for child care workers. The bill's success depends on building a system that won’t undercut certain groups or lead to additional closures in an industry decimated by the pandemic.
Democrats ready $450B plan to expand child care, pre-K as broader economic package hits new political snags
The new spending could amount to the largest-ever investment in federally backed child-care programs, with Biden and other Democrats laboring to ease the financial burdens on parents, offer higher wages to caregivers and ensure all children ages 3 and 4 can enroll in free prekindergarten.
Click here to read the full story from The Washington Post.
North Carolina Child Care Programs Struggle to Hang On Amid Ongoing Pandemic
Child care centers in North Carolina, which have struggled with a workforce shortage for years, now grapple with major financial fallout from the pandemic — despite remaining open for much of the past year.
Across the state, nearly one-third of child care centers reported revenue losses of $45,000 or more stemming from the pandemic, according to a new survey from the North Carolina Child Care Resources & Referral Council.
Click here to read the full story from Axios Charlotte.
Child Care Challenges in the Face of the Pandemic: A Survey of NC Child Care Providers
Child care programs in North Carolina face an uncertain future. While many in the state remained open throughout the pandemic, enrollment levels have dropped significantly and many programs have suffered substantial financial losses. A new survey explores the pandemic’s effect on North Carolina child care programs and looks at policies that can help.
North Carolina's Child Care Industry Still Reeling From COVID Setbacks
Like many industries, the pandemic has shined a light on the issues haunting the child care industry. The National Women’s Law Center reported a loss of more than 370,000 jobs in the industry in 2020, a third of the child care workforce.
Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an additional 12,000 jobs to the industry as of April, 1-in-6 jobs still haven’t returned to the field, causing a severe shortage in child care providers.