Data on Childcare Deserts on the Peninsula can be found here::: https://childcaredeserts.org/?state=VA&split=true
The ECE working group began this meeting to discuss the importance of childcare business sustainability and strategies to improve the awareness for the community. Business sustainability for childcare centers and socio-emotional support for children go hand in hand. Childcare centers are neccessary for our economy to reopen after COVID.
Data? We know that before the COVID epidemic, about 47% of our community lived in childcare deserts based on census tract data. Some census tracts were effected more than others. Since the COVID pandemic, about 50% of childcare centers have temporarily closed their doors for various reasons (affordability, safety of staff, parents deciding to keep children home, observice social distance requirements given by state).
We are concerned that many wont reopen after the pandemic and that childcare slots will decrease drastically, further exascerbating already alarming data about access to quality early childhood experiences.
If childcare centers are unable to reopen, children will be unable to receive the socio-emotional support that childcare staff are trained to provide AND families will be unable to return to work.
Business sustainability affects adults and the economy, which then affects the emotional wellness of children and the overall strength of families. The world is paying attention to the importance of childcare right now. Lets take advantage.
Flat - We want it to go Up (Include child care literacy)
Factors pushing up the trendline?
- New State COVID related funding available
- Awareness of the issue - lack of child care and the importance
- CNI project wants to build a child care site Ready Network and City of NN put $$ into family child care supply
- City of NN has listed early education as a priority and wants to use an old building(s) to build child care sites esp for 4 yr olds - they met with folks from TX about this recently and I sat in
- Support from the Governor/State
Factors pushing down the trendline?
- Lack of books/supplies
- The business model is based on parent fees
- Limited profit for high-quality centers
- High liability
- Not enough providers
- Not enough staff -can make more other places
- Not everyone understands the value of childcare and the importance for educational success (including policymakers)
- Limited childcare subsidies available
- COVID unemployment rate
- In a survey that we have sent to Hampton SS customers, they don't want to send their children to daycare due to COVID.
- lack of education around what quality childcare looks like (parents)
- formal vs informal childcare settings
- knowledge for providers about best practices (quality rating system)
- Are there incentives that can be provided for providers to engage in quality childcare practices?
- people feel more comfortable going to 'nationally branded centers'
- employee retention at nationally branded centers
- providers need support prior to opening (high-quality standards are infused at this point)
- What does high touch support look like for them? What does it feel like? Are we holding their hand to walk thru the opening/development process
- how can we support providers in providing nontraditional hours?
Factors causing disparities.
- Financial barriers for people (Limited childcare subsidies available)
- the distrust that families have of organized systems (rather have family members watch children based on cost for childcare)
- perception of safety in low-income communities
- have not found a way to ensure providers have basic core knowledge ((lack of)professional development)
- there needs to be more support for incubation childcare centers
- equitable resources for providers (books, equipment, furniture, advertising/marketing, etc.)
- quality of care is not the same across the board...social and emotional support, nontraditional work hours,
Anticipated (future/emerging) factors?
- COVID-19 long term
- Economy/Covid based impact (latest data indicates that 59% of child care sites have open spots)
- Virtual schooling (technology: hotspots)
- money is coming from DSS, priority list has been made. bonuses for teachers working with children 3-12 and newly hired teachers. technology. equipment for food, classroom furniture, renovation dollars, age-appropriate tools for children
Factors requiring additional research?
- Identify the areas of greatest need
- Do we have any local data regarding COVID cases in child care centers?
- data points to validate that the childcare deserts are in areas of high crime/low-income communities
- are neighbors 'partners'?
- perception of nationally branded centers vs home/family centers
What are the top priority factors to address?
- Tuition assistance for school-aged students
- support and guidance for new directors and owners (mentoring program)
- support for students around virtual learning/unplugging techniques/social and emotional support
- open the lines of communication with the school system
- Funding to support the tips and strategies for unplugging the brain