FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: DECEMBER 11, 2020
Child care providers across Arizona are facing an unsustainable reality without significant public investment, according to a new data from a national survey conducted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and shared in Arizona by the Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children (AzAEYC), a state affiliate.
“We see it happening all around us as we work to support early childhood educators around our state, said Dr. Eric Bucher, Executive Director, AzAEYC. “They are on the front lines, caring for and educating young children at great risk to their own health. They simply cannot afford the supplies it takes to keep children and educators safe without public investments.”
Camille Lachar-Lofaro, Governing Board President of AzAEYC and an early childhood education adjunct professor, says most of her students work in child care centers and see the crisis firsthand. “The extra supplies needed for safety – bleach, masks, disinfectant – is breaking the bank. The teachers are buying these supplies themselves. Many have no health insurance. When teachers get sick, and the center should close temporarily, the fear is that families may never come back and the center will close permanently. Programs are hanging by a thread, and that thread is getting very thin.”
NAEYC surveyed over 6,000 providers from across the United States. More than 100 providers in Arizona responded to the survey. Of the respondents, 78% represented child care centers and 22% represented family child care homes.
Financial impact, Expense of PPE and other supplies
› 54% of respondents from child care center and family child care homes said they are currently losing money by remaining open, even as they are desperately trying to stay open for the children and families they serve.
› 45% of respondents reported putting supplies or other items on their personal credit card or dipping into their personal savings accounts, including 55% of family child care homes.
› 93% of respondents are paying additional costs for cleaning supplies; 69% are paying additional costs for PPE, and 59% are paying additional costs for staff/personnel, including 70% of child care centers.
The future is uncertain
› 43% are confronting so much uncertainty that they are unable to say how much longer they will be able to stay open.
› Of those who do know, one in three say they will have to close within three months if enrollment stays where it is and they don’t receive additional public support.
› 43% of respondents said they know of multiple child care centers and/or family child care homes in their community that have closed permanently
Congress must act
AzAEYC is urging Congress to include at least $50 billion in flexible childcare stabilization funding and $1.7 billion for Head Start in this relief package to ensure that families have access to safe, quality early care and education programs for their children during and after the pandemic.
“Early childhood professionals do the complex, critical work of building the brains of young learners so that parents can get to work or school and contribute to their communities. Our profession works to equitably serve young children, including the children of doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, grocery store clerks, our armed forces. We are in a dire situation.
But our elected officials can help fix this,” added Dr. Bucher. “With public investments, we can help advance equity in early care and education and get resources to where they are needed the most. It’s time for Congress to step up as champions for our nation’s children, families, and educators.”
The online survey, created and conducted by NAEYC using SurveyMonkey, represents the responses of a non-randomized sample of 6,071 individuals working in center or home-based child care programs who completed the survey between November 13 and 29, 2020. The respondents represent providers in 50 states as well as Washington, DC and Puerto Rico; 36% report that they work in family child care homes while 64% report that they work in center-based child care.
AzAEYC is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research. We advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children. AzAEYC is one of two state affiliates of NAEYC in the state of Arizona.
AzAEYC shared the NAEYC survey of child care providers widely around the state of Arizona through email newsletters, social media and via partnerships.
Vicki Balint, AzAEYC Media & Communications