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New childcare solutions: Groups working to fill gaps as parents return to work

Posted at 8:22 AM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 08:22:41-04

LANSING, Mich. — It's the issue on parent's minds as they begin to return to work. Who will safely be able to take care of the kids. Thousands of child care centers are at risk of going broke. Amanda Brandeis shows us how some groups are working to fill the gaps and what experts say is the long-term solution for families.

Day cares trying to serve their families face an uphill battle.

Katie Hamm, VP of Early Childhood Policy at Center for American Progress shared that “A lot of childcare providers can’t afford to go a few weeks or a few months without revenue and they certainly can’t afford to operate with fewer children and less revenue coming in. (If needed you can cut the last part of this for time.)

Add into the mix higher expenses from new sanitation personal protective gear requirements.

Katie Hamm wants to see the government make investments into early childhood programs. “Childcare was in crisis before the pandemic, I think in quiet crisis, now it’s front and center for a lot of Americans.”

She says many programs were barely making ends meet before the pandemic… and that half of Americans live in child-care deserts… that is, neighborhoods where there’s simply too few child care options for all the kids who need it.

Julie Celebi, a family doctor said “We work long hours and they can be unpredictable, being able to have safe, adequate, affordable childcare was just not an option as a primary care doctor.”

As Dr. Julie Celebi responded to the COVID-19 crisis in the hospital, she faced another one at home. “When I got the call that there was a person that stepped up to provide the volunteer childcare, I almost cried, it was just like a weight had been lifted off me.”

Charlize Dang, a Student at UC San Diego “I had a lot more free time on my hands …”

Charlize Dang volunteers for COVID Childcare, an organization created to connect medical workers with free childcare from volunteers.

Julie Celebi explained that "we knew right away talking to Charlize she was going to be great and the children loved her.

Ryan Cieslikowski, Founder of COVID Childcare also shared that “A lot of hospitals have furloughed up to 70 percent of staff in in some cases, important that once these workers come back to work, and childcare facilities still closed and still not socially distanced, that they have an alternative.”

Stanford University student Ryan Cieslikowski founded the organization with branches now in Southern California, Seattle, and Reno.

Another solution… The YMCA also stepped up to provide childcare for essential workers.

It’s goal is to eventually help the general public as more Y’s begin to reopen nationwide.

But advocates say the best solution as parents get back to work will require a lot of help from the government.

Katie Hamm “The childcare community has asked for an investment of $50 billion, to stabilize childcare, that is on par with what other industries have asked for.”

Funding would go to states to allocate the money.

But Hamm says the industry needs a long-term investment – to not only help parents afford childcare but ensure workers earn a livable wage

“So the next time the country is in crisis the childcare system can serve everyone well. Rather than a broken system trying to survive.”

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