Survey: 56% of Open Child Care Centers Losing Money Each Day
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For Immediate Release:
December 9, 2020
Washington, D.C.—Child care providers across the United States are facing an unsustainable reality without significant public investment, according to a new national survey conducted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a leading advocate for high-quality early childhood education.
“The situation is dire for child care providers--the ones that are still open,” said NAEYC CEO Rhian Evans Allvin. “Add to that the thousands of providers that have already closed and the magnitude of this national crisis is much, much greater.”
“From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, child care has been hit particularly hard,” Allvin said. “As it drags on, and money from the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program, and other sources runs out, there is an emergency need for $50 billion to stabilize and support the sector. Without relief, our post-pandemic national economy will struggle to recover as parents can’t find high-quality, reliable child care for their children.”
Among the startling findings from the survey of more than 6,000 providers:
- 56% of child care centers are losing money each day they remain open.
- 44% are confronting so much uncertainty that they are unable to say how much longer they will be able to stay open.
- One-in-four centers and one-in-three child care homes say that if enrollment stays where it is and no additional support comes forward, they will have to close in the next three months. That rises to 51% of minority-owned businesses who won’t survive more than three months at the current status quo.
- Nearly half of respondents know of multiple centers or child care homes in their community that have closed permanently. This includes 42% for those who are minority-owned businesses and rises to 56% for those who describe their community as suburban.
Survey respondents are resorting to desperate measures to stay open:
- 42% of respondents reported taking on debt for their programs by putting supplies or other items on their own personal credit cards.
- 39% reported trying to meet families’ needs by dipping into their own personal savings accounts.
- 60% work in programs that have tried to reduce their expenses by engaging in layoffs, furloughs, and/or pay cuts.
They are doing this as they experience significant increases in operating costs:
- 91% of respondents are paying additional costs for cleaning supplies.
- 73% are paying additional costs for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- 60% are paying additional costs for staff/personnel, in an environment in which 69% say recruiting and retaining qualified staff is more difficult now than it was before the pandemic.
“To ignore this impact on the early childhood education sector is to ignore the future of our children, and of our country,” Allvin said. “These passionate early childhood educators have hung on for dear life throughout 2020. Getting them to 2021 requires meaningful relief from Washington.”
Survey methodology: The online survey, created and conducted by NAEYC using SurveyMonkey, represents the responses of a non-randomized sample of 6,071 individuals working in center or home-based child care programs who completed the survey between November 13 and 29, 2020. The respondents represent providers in 50 states as well as Washington, DC and Puerto Rico; 36% report that they work in family child care homes while 64% report that they work in center-based child care. The survey links were shared widely through email newsletters, listservs, social media, and via partnerships, and 10 randomly selected respondents were provided with a $50 gift card for participation in a sweepstakes. Given the constantly changing and widely varying nature of the crisis, the analysis from this survey is intended to present the experiences of the respondents, as captured in the moment that they take the survey, with extrapolations for the experiences of the field and industry at large.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research. We advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children. The association comprises nearly 60,000 individual members of the early childhood community and more than 50 Affiliates, all committed to delivering on the promise of high-quality early learning. Together, we work to achieve a collective vision: that all young children thrive and learn in a society dedicated to ensuring they reach their full potential.