Disney World opened its doors to the public last week. Good news, maybe, for moneyed parents looking to entertain their children for a little while.
But for parents who need actual, consistent and secure places to bring their children, the news is far more grim. The child care centers that provide crucial support to workers with preschool-aged children are in trouble.
Without additional public funding, 40% of the child care centers in the U.S. say they’ll be forced to permanently shutter because of the financial pressures of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey released Monday by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
The survey also found that half of the child care centers operated by minority business owners are at risk of closing permanently, yet another sign of how this crisis has been disproportionately hard on people of color.
Couple this with the uncertainty that surrounds the reopening of the nation’s K-12 schools and what you get is: a lot of parents who won’t be able to get back to work ― particularly women who are typically saddled with primary caretaking responsibilities or who are single parents. In a recent survey from the University of Oregon, 47% of parents didn’t know if they would be able to return to work because they didn’t have appropriate child care.
This is devastating news for so many parents ― especially those who are losing out on income amid an economic crisis that is causing some families to go without food. It’s terrible for working women. It’s bad for companies who want employees back to work.
It’s also a particularly bleak situation for children, said Phillip Fisher, who is leading a research project at the University of Oregon examining the effects of the pandemic on families with young children.
There’s a vast amount of important development that happens to children during the early years of life, he noted. And when children are exposed to chronic, toxic stress...