In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Strategies for Children has set up a family survey so we can learn about parents’ and caregivers’ experiences with child care.
So far, there have been more than 1,550 responses. We’ve posted a summary of them, and we are sharing this information with policymakers to help guide their work.
Among the written responses is this troubling observation from Natick:
“It is proving difficult, draining, and detrimental to the mental well-being for working parents to juggle full time workloads and round-the-clock childcare. While many parents are non-essential, they are still working remotely but without the option of childcare. Needless to say, one person cannot perform two full-time jobs simultaneously. Parents need support in the form of teaching resources but also mental health and emotional support.”
Crunching the survey numbers produced these results:
• 60% of parents responding are struggling to work from home without child care
• 46% say they will not be able to return to work without a consistent child care solution
• a resounding 87% say that they would be hesitant to return to child care due to health concerns
• while close to 70% hope to return to their pre-COVID-19 child care arrangements, there is no guarantee that those programs will be able to re-open, or have the capacity to welcome all families back
A respondent from Florence, Mass., says “It’s important to us that our kids are safe and happy and have relatively predictable childcare environments with which we’re very familiar.”
And this comment came from western Massachusetts:
“I would be hesitant to return to childcare if the virus is still widespread, because I don’t want to risk my child becoming infected through school and then possibly transmitting that infection. If the virus is resolved (or if there is widespread testing), I would feel more comfortable returning to childcare.”
We are eager to gather more information from families.
So if you are a parent or caregiver, please share your experiences by filling out the survey, which will be open for several more weeks.
The survey is available in English.
And the survey is available in Spanish: Perspectiva Familiar: Cuidado de Niños en Massachusetts. Special thanks to The Community Group in Lawrence for translating and testing the survey.
Here at Strategies we are working to ensure that early education and care emerges from this pandemic even stronger than it was before, and a crucial part of that work is hearing from families.