8,500 child care facilities in the state of California have shuttered their doors since the Covid-19 pandemic. This has left thousands of child care workers without jobs and tens of thousands of families with fewer options for their children.
The child care industry was one of the hardest hit in the past two years. The global pandemic was a bright light that illuminated an industry where workers are severely underpaid and child care rates for families are unfathomably high. Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan infused $1.9 billion dollars into California (half of the state's allotted $3.8 billion), but that money has not completely alleviated the problem.
Between January 2020 and January 2021, 3,635 in-home family child care sites shut their doors and a more concerning 4,873 larger facilities closed after the beginning of the pandemic. With many families in California working from home and keeping their children with them due to concerns over infection, child care facilities were forced to close after the pandemic dragged on for over a year. Now, facilities are opening up, but they are finding it hard to regain lost footing.
Experts say that the socialization and learning that come with a child care facility outside of the home are imperative to the development of a young person. Without this socialization and an acclamation to the rigors of education, children can falter when they enter kindergarten. Additionally, having children at home while parents work is not beneficial to the emotional wellbeing of parents who are already burdened by the stressors of the pandemic and everyday life. Child care for young kids can alleviate both of these issues.
The closure of so many day care facilities in California has not only forced up the price of care, it has also limited the options of families wishing to return to child care as they return to the office. California is one of the most expensive states in the country for child care. California families paid an average of $8,400 in 2020 for child care. And the prices are just going up from there in the following years.
There are approximately 44,760 child care workers in the state of California and who average a total income of $33,840 from their work shaping the minds of the future. California, there has to be a better way to appropriately compensate these individuals while also maintaining a child care price tag that families can afford.