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NCDHHS COVID-19 response: North Carolina rapid COVID-19 response to early care and education


During the COVID-19 pandemic, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) launched a complex and evolving pandemic response with a strong equity focus that included vaccine rollout, the ChildCareStrongNC and StrongSchoolsNC (K-12) toolkits, temporary federal Pandemic–Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program, and among other priorities, a focus on the health and safety of children and staff in child care/early care and education (ECE) programs. One NCDHHS division, the Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE), was responsible for supports related to the ECE system in North Carolina. In this brief, we describe the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic raised for children and the ECE workforce who cared for them, in addition to impacts on employment for parents of young children. We also describe the coordinated response to ECE challenges at the state level, including the prevention of permanent closure of many ECE programs that faced extended closures and the phased reopening of these programs conducted with guidance and resources to support child and workforce health and safety. Finally, we examine the resiliency of the ECE system and share lessons learned. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States
North Carolina
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