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August 14, 2020
Alaska’s early childhood education system is facing serious challenges in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Since the pandemic began, child care programs have been open to support families and children. These programs are struggling to stay afloat. Alaska is at risk of losing this essential service without further addressing the needs of the child care system.
The business of child care has been interrupted by the pandemic. The demand for child care is fluctuating as families grapple with returning to the workplace and school safely. Without steady enrollment, child care programs are faced with uncertain or reduced income revenue and growing expenses to stay open and operate safely.
Specifically, programs are navigating:
All of these factors are challenging child care’s survival.
In June 2020, thread conducted a phone survey with 304 licensed child care programs across the state to learn more about these challenges and what is needed to ensure the system survives. (Alaska has more than 500 licensed/regulated child care programs, child care centers, family child care, school-age, and Head Start programs.)
This data snapshot highlights the key findings from thread’s survey conversations.The results show a need for continued financial investment to ensure Alaska’s child care system does not collapse.
With continued financial investment Alaska can ensure the survival of the current child care system. This critical infrastructure provides our communities with the benefits of the licensed care needed and desired by children, families and employers.
For Child Care Programs
Business resilience and program stabilization
Operating safely and effectively
Support for social and behavioral health needs of staff and children
Return to their workplace
Reduced cognitive load trying to figure out child care
Reduced stress about their children in unstable child care arrangements
Safe, healthy, learning and loved
More predictable routines, which adds resiliency during traumatic times
Increased availability of workers
Higher productivity due to less distractions from trying to solve child care struggles
Reduced coronavirus transmission within child care
Families and businesses contributing to the economy