Before the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 12 million children ages birth to 5 years were participating in some form of child care each week.1 Since March 2020, the pandemic has largely shut down, reduced, or disrupted the availability of child care across the nation. Restarting the child care industry,a while adhering to recommended guidance about health and safety precautions in the midst of the pandemic, is essential for helping parents get back to work and for preserving the child care workforce. Yet, some families seeking child care and some child care providers have been affected by the pandemic more than others. Addressing the unique needs of these families and providers requires that state and local policymakers and child care administrators develop an approach that is tailored to respond to these needs.
The purpose of this brief is to explore the specific challenges that families and child care providers are facing, especially those who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and to offer potential strategies that state and local policymakers and administrators can pursue to address families’ and providers’ unique needs. For the purposes of this brief, the families and child care providers disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 include:
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