Institute Reports on Adverse Impacts of COVID-19 on La. Child Care Providers
NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children released findings on how the COVID-19 pandemic is having ongoing adverse affects on child care providers. Problems include financial losses, closures and lack of support to deal with the health crisis. These findings result from a June survey of Louisiana child care providers conducted in partnership with Agenda for Children, Childcare Connections for Northeast Louisiana, Louisiana Association of United Ways, On Track by 5 Alliance, Pointe Coupee Early Childhood Education Coalition, United Way of Southeast Louisiana and Volunteers of America.
“Our most recent findings show that Louisiana’s early care and education sector is facing serious and compounding negative impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Libbie Sonnier, executive director of LPIC. “Without increasing investment in the sector now and facilitating access to quality, reliable early care and education, parents working across every industry will not be able to return to work to provide for their families and keep the Louisiana economy moving forward.”
During a virtual press conference, representatives from LPIC, Clara’s Little Lambs, the Department of Education, the Louisiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Link Restaurant Group and the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce presented the following survey findings:
- Seventy-seven percent of providers who responded to the survey reported experiencing substantial financial losses due to COVID-19 with losses averaging $110,000 per center as of June 22, translating to an estimated $137.5 million in collective losses statewide.
- Almost half of providers, including those that were closed during the survey window, had a waiting list of families hoping to enroll their children.
- Nearly two-thirds of providers reported difficulty in obtaining necessary supplies, including cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment.
- Only 22 percent of providers open during the survey window, including those that had closed then reopened or remained open throughout the pandemic, responded that they could afford to continue to operate with the current smaller group sizes for as long as necessary. By contrast, 35 percent predicted their businesses could last six months or less, and another 42 percent were unsure.
- 81 percent of providers open during the survey window were serving fewer children in June than they did in January before the pandemic. On average, enrollment at open providers was 30 percent less in June than it was in January.
“These findings further speak to the critical need for increased funding for the early care and education sector in Louisiana,” said Dr. Jenna Chiasson, assistant state superintendent at the Louisiana Department of Education. “We must do all that we can to ensure there are enough open, quality early care and education providers with available spots to serve those families and guarantee that their children arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed.”
LPIC’s study also showed that federal and state relief fund programs helped many child care providers across Louisiana; however, these funds largely slowed, rather than fully addressed, the extensive financial losses experienced by providers. To ensure there is a child care sector for working parents and their employers to rely on in the future, additional investments will be necessary. These investments must include support to ensure providers can obtain necessary personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies and maintain affordability for families.
The complete findings can be found here. For more information on LPIC, please visit: http://www.policyinstitutela.org.