As the country continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, 35 national child welfare and early care and education organizations last week called on the federal government to ensure that “significant and flexible emergency funding” for ECE is part of any emergency stimulus package. They made their call in a March 11 letter to Congresss. In a follow up communication to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), they urged Congress to issue “immediate and clear guidance from to state Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) administrators and lead agencies regarding policy choices that can help child care providers and the families they serve remain operable, financially stable and, to the degree possible, open during and after the ongoing COVID19/coronavirus crisis.”
New America has a detailed post outlining their concerns about the pandemic’s impact on child care providers and the effect that a lack of access to child care could have for low-wage earners in jobs not conducive to telecommuting.
These were the funding requests advocates made in the March 11 letter:
- providing assistance to programs based on enrollment rather than attendance;
- providing payments to programs and workers in case of virus-related closures;
- providing payments to programs that continue to serve children when families are unable to pay co-payments or tuition;
- paying for the cost of substitute educators; and
- paying for additional supplies or services that are needed to keep child care centers and homes safe and sanitary.
The March 13 letter requesting guidance for ECE providers asked ACF to encourage states to take the following actions, among them:
- adjusting payment policies so that they’re based on enrollment rather than actual attendance so that sick children can stay home without reducing provider revenue;
- waiving policies that terminate child eligibility based on a high number of absences;
- ensuring that licensing staff are trained on best practices regarding safety and hygiene; and
- allowing providers to waive co-pays for families impacted by changes to their work schedules and income.
New America also included a list of links to resources for ECE providers from the CDC, the Urban Institute, NAEYC, and other organizations.