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Financial challenges of family child care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic: A phenomenological study


The impact of COVID-19, both in quality and quantity, on the field of early childhood education, ECE is immeasurable. However, as research shows, its impact on family child care (FCC), has been worse than other sectors of ECE. FCC providers worldwide have always perceived their work as a service to families and children, yet FCC homes have not received much attention and recognition from researchers and policymakers compared to center-based ECE programs. This phenomenological inquiry with 20 FCC providers in a large urban county in California highlights the financial challenges that FCC providers faced during the early part of the pandemic before they received financial support from the state in the spring of 2021. The cost of running the program was quite high because of reduced enrollment and the regular purchase of sanitary materials. To keep their programs afloat, some participants had to lay off their staff, others kept them without salary, others had to exhaust their savings, and most incurred credit card debt. Most of them also experienced psychosocial stress. Their financial hardships during the pandemic would have been far worse without the emergency funding received from the state. However, as experts warn, the field of ECE needs a permanent solution and the situation could be even worse after the emergency funds run out in 2024. The nation has witnessed the dedicated service of FCC providers during the pandemic, especially to families of essential workers. Much work is needed at empirical and policy levels to support and celebrate the service of FCC providers. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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