A report out Wednesday from UC Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Child Care Employment finds an already taxed industry is struggling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Director of the Center Lea Austin said the coronavirus is having a wide-reaching, negative impact on the child care system.
“This workforce is very concerned about their own health risks. It finds that programs are financially struggling," she said. "I think we have had a sense for many months now that the child care system, in the middle of this pandemic, is really on the verge of collapse.”
The survey of nearly 1,000 providers shows about 80% are taking care of fewer kids because of health and safety restrictions, which leads to less income. Centers are also seeing increased cleaning and staffing costs. Austin said that scenario is unsustainable for the majority of providers.
She said there was already a child care shortage before COVID-19 and the pandemic is going to make it worse.
“Bottom line is that there will be less child care available," Austin said. "And if there's less child care available, then there's less opportunity for working parents to be able to utilize child care."