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Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector (2022)

Chapter: Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector

Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
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JANUARY 2022 ADDRESSING THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION SECTOR

Authors:

Erdal Tekin*
Jacqueline Jones**
Shar on L. Kagan***


This rapid expert consultation was produced through the Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN), an activity of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. SEAN links researchers in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences with decision makers to respond to policy questions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. This project is affiliated with the National Academies’ Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats. The National Bureau of Economic Research with the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation commissioned the white papers that informed the development of this rapid expert consultation.

SEAN is interested in your feedback. Was this rapid expert consultation useful? For further inquiries regarding this rapid expert consultation or to send comments, contact sean@nas.edu or (202) 334-3440.



*Professor, Department of Public Administration and Policy, American University

**President and CEO, Foundation for Child Development

***Professor and Co-Director, National Center for Children and Families, Columbia University andProfessorAdjunct, Yale ChildStudyCenter

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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated challenges in the early care and education (ECE) sector, including: preexisting structural flaws; insufficient funding mechanisms; sector fragmentation; inadequate support for the workforce; and inequalities, such as the lack of access to high-quality care among low-income, rural populations, and communities of color. Addressing the impacts of the pandemic and the resulting economic recession on the ECE sector will require that state, local, and tribal decision makers use available COVID-19 relief funds to mitigate those impacts while also laying the foundation for longer-term solutions. This rapid expert consultation identifies mitigation strategies (Box 1) that could be implemented to achieve these goals.

BOX 1
Strategies for Mitigating the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Early Care and Education (ECE) Sector

  • Reduce the rate of closures: Use available recovery funds to assist providers that closed during the pandemic, those struggling to stay open, and those attempting to open new sites. These efforts include providing direct funds to ECE providers to pay salaries for personnel and buy cleaning materials and personal protective equipment.
  • Assist the ECE workforce: Increase compensation, provide bonuses, encourage professional development opportunities, provide mental health supports, and improve overall working conditions to attract and retain qualified staff.
  • Modify subsidy reimbursement and payment policies: Change ways of determining state subsidy reimbursement rates and payment policies for ECE providers who participate in ECE assistance programs in order to allow state authorities to base subsidy rates on the actual costs of providing high-quality ECE. Examples include basing subsidy rates on enrollment rather than attendance and using cost-estimation methods to pay for the actual costs of providing ECE.
  • Improve coordination of the ECE sector and funding systems: Coordinate services and harmonize funding across the ECE sector to support continuous quality improvement and increase the quality, equity, sustainability, and efficiency of services. Coordination also reduces family and provider administrative burdens.
  • Integrate data systems across provider and funding types: Support integrated data systems at the state and local levels to assist in rapid-response planning, foster continuous improvement, allow officials access to real-time information, identify gaps in service, and track outcomes. For example, real-time data on enrollment could help identify gaps and financial challenges for providers as they recover from the pandemic.
Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×

INTRODUCTION

The COVID-19 pandemic and the mitigation measures enacted to contain it have exacerbated long-standing challenges in the early care and education (ECE) sector.1 These challenges have impacted the supply, quality, and continuity of ECE nationally, and have affected centers and home-based and family providers, families, children, employers, and the economy (Burwick et al., 2020; Carson and Mattingly, 2020; Cascio, 2021; Tekin, 2021).

The prepandemic ECE sector was already struggling to meet the needs of many families: high-quality ECE was expensive and in short supply, compensation rates for ECE educators were low, and turnover rates among this workforce were high (Cascio, 2021; Institute of Medicine and National Research Council [IOM and NRC], 2015; NASEM, 2018; Tekin, 2021; Whitebook, Phillips, and Howes, 2014). Moreover, low-income families, communities of color, and rural communities all experienced lower access to high-quality ECE providers relative to other population groups (Bassok and Galdo, 2016; Flood et al., 2021; Hatfield et al., 2015). Services were not coordinated, making it difficult for parents to select and providers to deliver high quality early care and education opportunities (Cascio, 2021; NASEM, 2018). Many of these challenges were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerating an already disproportionate impact on low-income families and communities of color (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2021a).

Measures implemented to manage the pandemic, including stay-at-home orders, social distancing, and more stringent regulations related to health and safety, led many ECE providers to close their programs permanently or temporarily, reducing the supply of ECE services. Moreover, those providers that remained open faced increased operating costs alongside enrollment limitations and extensive staff turnover (National Association for the Education of Young Children [NAEYC], 2021a). Consequently, the pandemic severely disrupted the continuity of early learning for children, and in turn constrained parents’ workforce participation (NASEM, 2021).

Federal resources and other sources of pandemic recovery funds2 are now reaching towns, cities, states, and tribes. By using these funds strategically, state, local, and tribal decision makers have an opportunity to not only assuage potential long-term effects of the pandemic on the ECE sector, but also address deep-seated challenges within the sector. Drawing on the social, behavioral, and economic sciences and principles set forth in two previous reports of the National Academies (Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education [NASEM, 2018] and Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth through Age 8 [IOM and NRC, 2015]), as

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1 In this report, ECE is defined as nonparental care that occurs outside the child’s (0–5 years) home.

2 Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has enacted legislation intended to stabilize the economy, including the ECE sector. Passed on March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) allocated $3.5 billion in emergency funds for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], 2020). In December 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), which provided $10 billion in relief funding for states through the CCDBG (Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, P.L. 116-260, https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hr133/BILLS-116hr133enr.pdf). Finally, in March 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), which allocated a total of $39 billion in childcare relief funding (P.L. 172, https://www.congress.gov/117/plaws/publ2/PLAW-117publ2.pdf). These funds were split between the CCDBG and a separate childcare stabilization fund, $15 billion and $25 billion, respectively.

Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
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well as lessons highlighted during an October 2021 webinar,3 this rapid expert consultation4 presents strategies that could be implemented to achieve these goals.

IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON THE EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION SECTOR

In March and April 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, many federal and state governments called for the closure of service-oriented businesses and schools, including ECE facilities, to slow the spread of the virus. According to a September 2020 audit by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General, “about 63 percent of all child care centers and 27 percent of family child care providers (collectively, child care facilities) had closed during the COVID-19 pandemic” (Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], 2020, p. 5).5

Some ECE facilities, based on local and state guidelines, remained open but operated at reduced capacity, whereas others provided care only for children of essential workers. Those ECE providers that were able to remain open were forced to make quick decisions and emergency plans to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the health and safety of their staff and the children in their care, as well as on their business, often bearing considerable expense in the process. They incurred additional costs to pay workers during closures and make health and safety improvements to their facilities—expenses that were difficult or impossible to bear for many ECE providers already operating with small profit margins due to durable, precarious economic conditions that characterize the sector (see, e.g., NASEM, 2018).6

Although many ECE providers have reopened their facilities since the initial months of the pandemic, child enrollment has not yet returned to prepandemic levels (NAEYC, 2021a). Analysis of the U.S. Database of Child Care Closures during COVID-19 (Lee and Parolin, 2021)

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3 The webinar, held in partnership with the Hauser Policy Impact Fund, addressed the effects of the pandemic on the ECE sector and investment strategies and policy implications for the sector’s pandemic recovery. See https://www.nationalacademies.org/event/10-22-2021/opportunities-for-early-care-and-education-in-thepandemic-recovery-deciding-how-to-invest-webinar.

4 The full statement of task for this rapid expert consultation is as follows: “The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will produce a rapid expert consultation that discusses guidance for state and local decision-makers seeking to mitigate the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the early care and education sector. As federal funds from the COVID-19 rescue packages are reaching towns, tribal nations, cities, and states, decision makers require guidance on how the funds can be used in ways that ensure affordable, sustainable, and high quality early care and education options. Drawing on social, behavioral, and economic sciences this document will identify actionable guidance that state and local government decision-makers can use to assist in recovery efforts to mitigate negative impacts on children and support economic recovery in the early care and education sector. This document will be designed to be of practical use to decision makers, but will not recommend specific actions or include other recommendations. It will be reviewed in accordance with institutional guidelines.”

5 These figures are based on national state agency reports indicating that 74,399 of 117,327 child care centers (about 63%) and 32,121 of 117,289 family child care providers (about 27%) had closed during the COVID-19 pandemic as of April 30, 2020 (HHS, 2020).

6 It is important to note that not all programs across the ECE sector experienced shutdowns in the same way. For instance, Boston’s Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) program received full funding throughout the shutdowns, whereas private programs that were reliant on monthly tuition and enrollment experienced greater turbulence (Guerrero Rosada et al., 2021).

Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×

reveals that as of June 2021, “only about half of ECE providers in the average child’s [census] tract had visits [center visits] at or above 75 percent of pre-pandemic levels, 27 percent… continued to have visits down by 50 percent or more, and nearly 8 percent…remained extremely impacted, with visits at or below 25 percent of their June 2019 level” (Cascio, 2021, p. 11). The same survey also found that providers serving children of color were more likely to be under capacitated or closed in April 2021, relative to those serving White children (Lee and Parolin, 2021).

Importantly, most ECE facilities that have remained open or reopened, have had to make changes to their daily operations and safety plans to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, including: (i) changes to procedures for interacting with children and families; (ii) altering group size limits; (iii) creation of requirements regarding the use of masks and hand sanitizer; (iv) enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures; and (v) structural changes such as improved ventilation (see, e.g., CDC, 2021b; Grunewald, 2020; North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, 2020; Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 2021). Making such changes typically requires additional financial investments, provider training, and increased workload for staff. For example, 81 percent of Louisiana childcare providers experienced increased costs for cleaning supplies, and 61 percent experienced difficulty obtaining needed supplies (Sonnier et al., 2021).

During the initial closure phase, moreover, many ECE teachers lost or voluntarily left their jobs because of financial, health, and safety concerns.7 While many workers have returned to the ECE labor force, the return has been uneven, with a direct impact on the number of children who can enroll at ECE facilities given state-specific teacher-to-child ratio laws. According to an analysis by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE), even though approximately 90 percent of ECE workers nationally have returned since the onset of the pandemic, the impact has been differentially distributed, with some states and cities experiencing far greater challenges (CSCCE, 2021).8

The closure and reduced capacity of many ECE facilities come at a critical time in children’s development. For example, such disruptions in services are likely to be associated with poorer outcomes with respect to children’s socioemotional learning, language development, behavioral skills, and emotional regulation skills (Bassok et al., 2021b; Guerrero Rosada et al., 2021; Smith and Granja, 2021; Weiland et al., 2021). While some ECE providers transitioned to virtual learning, not all families had the resources and support to participate.

However, the consequences are not felt by children alone. The ECE industry provides care and learning experiences for young children, and it also enables parents, especially mothers, to participate in the labor force. The disruption of ECE services also forced families to take on additional childcare responsibilities, with the burden falling largely on mothers (NASEM, 2021). Between March and July 2020, “42 percent of working mothers…reduced their hours…as

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7 An August 2020 National Women’s Law Center analysis found that “between February and April 2020, the industry lost 370,600 jobs, over a third of its workforce, with women accounting for 95 percent of those losses” (Ewing-Nelson, 2020, p. 1).

8 For example, the CSCCE analysis shows that “the number of child care jobs in Massachusetts increased about 12.5 percent from August, but overall is only at 76.5 percent of pre-pandemic child care job levels” (CSCCE, 2021).

Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×

compared with 30 percent of working fathers” (Zamarro and Prados, 2021, p. 17). The initial drop in ECE provider availability and the subsequent slow recovery, with attendant ECE workforce shortages, made it difficult for families to find ECE providers outside the home.9

STRATEGIES FOR MITIGATING THE IMPACTS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON THE EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION SECTOR

The ECE sector operates predominantly as a fragmented industry, with ECE services provided in a variety of settings—ranging from small family providers to large private and publicly supported centers—and financed in multiple ways, including payments by families, other private sources, and public-sector expenditures (Kagan, 2015; Kauerz, 2021; NASEM, 2018). These varied settings and funding sources are often tied to different eligibility rules and quality standards (NASEM, 2018; Tekin, 2021). These structural conditions mean that in the current landscape, high-quality ECE remains unavailable to many families “as they rely on a patchwork of expensive and unstable arrangements, which leads to frequent disruptions of care” (Tekin, 2021, p. 3). While the situation exists for all children, research has shown that minority, disadvantaged, and low-income populations are disproportionately negatively affected in that they lack access to affordable high-quality services (NASEM, 2018). Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) populations on average tend to face more shortages in access to licensed care and attend significantly lower-quality ECE programs compared with other populations (Harding and Paulsell, 2018; Valentino, 2018).

The financial structure and funding amounts in the ECE sector render it particularly vulnerable to the pandemic. Much ECE is provided through private programs, including home-based providers and ECE centers, which are funded mainly through enrollment and tuition. While federally funded programs, including Head Start and Early Start for low-income families, receive federal funding and state-matched contributions, only 35 percent of children nationwide are eligible for Head Start, and only 54 percent of 3- to 4-year-olds participate in any preschool (Learning Policy Institute, 2021).

Early reactions to the pandemic among state governments and local and tribal jurisdictions largely focused on attempts to ensure access to ECE services for families of essential workers, to interpret and issue guidance for health and safety measures in ECE programs, and to support ECE providers by assessing their needs in an ever-changing environment (HHS, 2020). Importantly, pandemic response funds provide an opportunity today for the ECE sector to move from reactionary strategies to a more proactive and strategic pandemic recovery response.

Moreover, the infusion of federal resources and other pandemic recovery funds presents a significant opportunity for state, local, and tribal decision makers to adopt strategies that address deep-seated challenges within the field, notably to prioritize quality and equity in the ECE sector. To do so, ideally, such funds will need to be used and distributed in ways that address both COVID-related challenges and those that faced the field even prior to the pandemic and inhibited

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9 A survey conducted between March 31 and April 4, 2020, by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and Morning Consult found that “nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of parents had difficulty finding child care, including 33 percent who found it very difficult” (Bipartisan Policy Center, 2020a).

Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×

children’s optimal development and learning, parents’ participation in the workforce, and the equitable support for ECE workers and providers.

The National Academies report Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education (2018) sets forth six principles focused on developing an effective financing strategy for the ECE sector (Box 2). Applying these six principles to the use of pandemic recovery funds could provide a framework for both addressing issues raised by the pandemic and fostering a more coherent and effective financing strategy for the ECE sector. The principles emphasize providing adequate funding to cover the cost of high-quality care, harmonizing and coordinating ECE funding streams, easing and increasing the efficiency of navigation and administration, linking funds to the provision of high-quality care, and using an equity lens in the criteria for prioritization and allocation of resources (NASEM, 2018).

BOX 2
Principles from Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education

  • Principle 1: High-quality early care and education requires a diverse, competent, effective, well-compensated, and professionally supported workforce across the various roles of ECE professionals.
  • Principle 2: High-quality early care and education requires that all children and families have equitable access to affordable services across all ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, and ability statuses as well as across geographic regions.
  • Principle 3: High-quality early care and education requires financing that is adequate, equitable, and sustainable, with incentives for quality. Moreover, it requires financing that is efficient, easy to navigate, easy to administer, and transparent.
  • Principle 4: High-quality early care and education requires a variety of high-quality service delivery options that are financially sustainable.
  • Principle 5: High-quality early care and education requires adequate financing for high-quality facilities.
  • Principle 6: High-quality early care and education requires systems for ongoing accountability, including learning from feedback, evaluation, and continuous improvement.

SOURCE: Excerpted from NASEM, 2018, pp. 3–5.

To address the above principles, the strategies presented below are meant to build on existing efforts, and touch on key areas that could be addressed immediately to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ECE sector and set the stage for needed long-term efforts to invest in the ECE workforce and create an ECE sector with greater coherence and consistency for providers, families, and children. These strategies focus on actions that might be taken by state, local, and tribal decision makers to address the immediate needs of ECE providers in responding to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Box 3 summarizes these strategies, which are described in detail below.

Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×

BOX 3
Strategies for Mitigating the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Early Care and Education (ECE) Sector

  • Reduce the rate of closures: Use available recovery funds to assist providers that closed during the pandemic, those struggling to stay open, and those attempting to open new sites. These efforts include providing direct funds to ECE providers to pay salaries for personnel and buy cleaning materials and personal protective equipment.
  • Assist the ECE workforce: Increase compensation, provide bonuses, encourage professional development opportunities, provide mental health supports, and improve overall working conditions to attract and retain qualified staff.
  • Modify subsidy reimbursement and payment policies: Change ways of determining state subsidy reimbursement rates and payment policies for ECE providers who participate in ECE assistance programs in order to allow state authorities to base subsidy rates on the actual costs of providing high-quality ECE. Examples include basing subsidy rates on enrollment rather than attendance and using cost-estimation methods to pay for the actual costs of providing ECE.
  • Improve coordination of the ECE sector and funding systems: Coordinate services and harmonize funding across the ECE sector to support continuous quality improvement and increase the quality, equity, sustainability, and efficiency of services. Coordination also reduces family and provider administrative burdens.
  • Integrate data systems across provider and funding types: Support integrated data systems at the state and local levels to assist in rapid-response planning, foster continuous improvement, allow officials access to real-time information, identify gaps in service, and track outcomes. For example, real-time data on enrollment could help identify gaps and financial challenges for providers as they recover from the pandemic.

Reduce the Rate of Closures

As discussed above, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to both temporary and permanent closures of ECE facilities, reducing the supply of ECE services and the number of available ECE slots for children (NAEYC, 2021b). As a result, recovery funds need to be used to assist those privately funded and enrollment-dependent programs that saw great financial difficulties during the pandemic, enabling them to remain open and operative. For example, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), passed in March 2021, provides an additional $25 billion in stabilization funds for the ECE sector that can be used to assist providers that have yet to reopen or continue to face severe financial constraints.10 New York, for example, distributed $60 million in stabilization grants to more than 8,600 providers that applied for funding.11 Maryland distributed $155 million in Child Care Stabilization Grants to licensed ECE centers and registered family ECE

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10 American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (P.L. 117-2), https://www.congress.gov/117/plaws/publ2/PLAW117publ2.pdf.

11 See https://info.childcareaware.org/blog/federal-relief-funds-state-progress-summer-2021.

Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×

providers across the state to help ease the financial burdens and operational challenges they faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds were used to offset the costs of reopening, including salaries for essential personnel, cleaning, and the purchase of personal protective equipment.12 As of July 2021, Maryland reported that 92 percent of the state’s licensed ECE providers had reopened and new programs had secured licensure in part as the result of federal and state investments.13 Maryland’s use of recovery funds to open new programs is an important step that other states could consider as well.

An additional example is Wisconsin’s “Badger Bounce Back” Plan. This plan ensured that all providers knew about and could access the state’s Emergency COVID-19 Child Care Payment Program, which was funded by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act through outreach to ECE providers and implemented by providing a website with step-by-step guidance on how to apply for the funds.14

Use of stabilization funds may be especially critical for the continued operation of ECE providers who serve lower-income children and children with special needs. To promote equity, for example, the Child Care Plan for Maine provided a 35 percent weekly increase in funding to providers who accept subsidies and serve children with special needs (Maine Department of Health and Human Services, 2021). The focus on equitable access needs to be broad and directed to all programs in the sector. For example, a study of the Child Care Restoration Grants (funded by the CARES Act) in Illinois found disparities in access to the funds related to race and income, and concluded that those in urban areas were more likely than their rural counterparts to access the funds (Sabol et al., 2021).

Assist the ECE Workforce

Challenges in the ECE sector include decades of low pay, inadequate benefits, and challenging work that are especially felt among Black, Latinx, and Native American providers (Austin et al., 2019). After accounting for education levels, for example, one study found that Black ECE workers were typically paid 78 cents less per hour than their White peers (Austin et al., 2019). However, sustained investments in wages and benefits can help to support children, retain, attract, and assure the quality of ECE workers (NASEM, 2018). Research shows that in ECE facilities where providers earn higher wages and have higher retention rates, children spend more time engaged in positive interactions and developmentally appropriate activities (Whitebook, Phillips, and Howes, 2014). Moreover, incentivization schemes can stave teacher turnover. Emerging research from the Virginia Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five, which provided incentives through a $1,500 Recognition Program payment to ECE teachers, shows that those who received these payments were 11 percent less likely to leave their positions compared with those who did not receive the payment (Bassok et al., 2021a). Examples of temporary measures to address compensation for the ECE workforce with pandemic recovery funds has included New Mexico which provided bonus pay ($700 monthly funded by CARES Act funds15) for teachers who continued to work throughout the pandemic.

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12 See https://governor.maryland.gov/2021/10/04/governor-hogan-announces-155-million-to-support-statechild-care-providers.

13 See https://news.maryland.gov/msde/maryland-state-department-of-education-announces-more-than-309million-to-support-state-child-care-providers.

14 See https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/childcare/payments.

15 See https://www.krwg.org/post/new-mexico-launches-incentive-pay-program-support-child-careprofessionals.

Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×

Immediate recovery efforts could also focus on improving working conditions by taking preventive steps to stave turnover. Turnover and recruitment among ECE workers remain challenging, and those who have remained in the workforce are faced with difficult working conditions and more stressors than before the pandemic (Delap et al., 2021; Guerrero Rosada et al., 2021; NAEYC, 2021b). In addition, given the mental health impacts of the pandemic, such as increased feelings of anxiety, mental health supports for the ECE workforce may be needed (Warner et al., 2021). Examples of states providing access to such supports include Maryland16 and Louisiana.17

While the available relief funds present an opportunity to invest in the ECE workforce, lasting change for the sector will be predicated on ensuring that such investments become sustained models for more permanent change. Examples include legislation in Florida that increased compensation for ECE workers,18 and Washington State’s expansion of affordable professional development opportunities19 and health care benefits for qualifying employees of licensed childcare facilities.20 Likewise, Arizona used CARES Act funds to support staff salaries, benefits, and incentives for hiring and recruitment by ECE providers through the Child Care Workforce Retention and Recruitment (CCWRR) Grant Program.21 In addition, the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department invested $157 million in ARPA funds to improve recruitment and retention of ECE professionals, increase ECE provider capacity, and increase families’ access to high-quality ECE.22

Introducing pay parity between pre-K and K–12 programs is an additional structural and durable strategy for supporting the ECE workforce. For example, the District of Columbia’s Birth to Three for All Act, passed in 2018 and partially funded for fiscal year 2022, requires the creation of a compensation scale for ECE workers that provides pay parity with public K–12 schools (Division of Early Learning, 2021). Remaining needs include improving ongoing professional learning, establishing a cohesive workforce, and ensuring practice environments that reinforce quality (IOM and NRC, 2015).

Modify Subsidy Reimbursement and Payment Policies

State-level subsidies available through the Child Care and Development Fund could be amended to pay ECE providers based on enrollment rather than attendance. Many ECE providers who remained open during the pandemic experienced increased rates of child absences due to

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16 See https://governor.maryland.gov/2021/10/04/governor-hogan-announces-155-million-to-support-statechild-care-providers/.

17 See https://www.louisianabelieves.com/newsroom/news-releases/2021/05/04/louisiana-department-ofeducation-ochsner-health-launch-virtual-therapy-program-for-educators-support-staff.

18 See https://flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2020/5001/BillText/er/PDF.

19 The Washington State model provides a community-based training pathway that is accessible in both rural and urban settings, is low-cost, and emphasizes culturally relevant practices. See https://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2019-20/Pdf/Bills/House%20Passed%20Legislature/2556S.PL.pdf?q=20211110105447.

20 See https://www.wahbexchange.org/partners/sponsors/childcare/.

21 See https://des.az.gov/services/child-and-family/child-care/ccwrr-grant-program.

22 See https://www.nmececd.org/2021/10/20/ececd-invests-157-million-to-stabilize-new-mexico-child-careindustry.

Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×

illness or family preferences (Cascio, 2021). Because subsidy reimbursements are based on the number of children in attendance, reduced attendance rates have posed an additional financial hardship for providers participating in subsidy programs and in states where subsidy policies are based on child attendance. Nineteen states, including Massachusetts, have amended their subsidy payment policies to pay ECE providers based on enrollment rather than child attendance, giving providers participating in subsidy programs needed financial support and stability.23

In addition, modifications to overall subsidy payment rates can help alleviate the pressures on the ECE sector. States can consider data related to cost information when setting payment rates (Davis et al., 2017). For example, research has shown that market rates do not reflect the true cost of providing high-quality ECE (NASEM, 2018; Tekin, 2021), yet most states continue to use them as the basis for establishing subsidy rates for ECE providers. The use of market prices as the basis for subsidy rates does not cover the true cost of high-quality ECE because most states base the rates on a very low percentile of the market price distribution–a practice that does not reflect federal guidance of setting the subsidy rate at the 75th percentile of the distribution (Bipartisan Policy Center, 2020b; Davis et al., 2017). Illustrating a strategy for addressing this gap, New Mexico has used pandemic recovery funds to implement a new cost estimation model based on the actual cost of providing high-quality care.24 Such cost estimation25 strategies are important because they reveal the relationship between raising staff compensation and the funding needed for a program to be financially viable (Davis et al., 2017), an important precursor to fostering durable change.

Another strategy that can be used in changing reimbursement and payment policies is the use of a contract model rather than vouchers, which may be easier to tie to quality standards and can give ECE providers greater financial stability and predictability by offering funding for a set period of time (Adams, Ewen, and Luetmer, 2021). Under a contract model, providers are guaranteed spaces for children and associated reimbursement and they can more directly support higher workforce compensation relative to increases in subsidy payment rates (Adams, Ewen, and Luetmer, 2021). During the pandemic, for example, California used CARES Act funding to continue to pay for contracted slots. ECE programs that used contracted slots in California benefited from the stability of being able to fully close down in-person services while retaining staff and providing distance learning and staff development opportunities (Bipartisan Policy Center, 2021). Indeed, reflecting the intent to be inventive in addressing workforce strategies, the 2018 National Academies report referenced above also emphasizes the need to pay the total cost of providing high-quality ECE, including the costs of service delivery, adequate compensation of a highly qualified workforce, system-level supports, and mechanisms for accountability and improvement (NASEM, 2018).

Improve Coordination of the ECE Sector and Funding Systems

Coordinated ECE governance and harmonized funding systems can support continuous quality improvement by enhancing quality, service provision, and accountability, but currently they do not do this well, with negative effects on children, families, programs, and the field in

________________

23 See https://www.mass.gov/doc/eec-2021-financial-assistance-policy-guide-9-2021/download.

24 See https://www.governor.state.nm.us/2021/07/01/n-m-dramatically-expands-child-care-assistance.

25 Cost estimation strategies vary in scope, attributes, geographic area, and range of services (NASEM, 2018).

Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×

general. Because multiple agencies regulate and fund ECE programs, ECE services experience different funding amounts, professional requirements, and accountability and monitoring stipulations (NASEM, 2018). Moreover, because often the same children are targeted by multiple ECE funding streams, service delivery is inefficient service delivery (Bassok, 2012; Bassok, Miller, and Galdo, 2016; Brown, 2019). Such inefficiency can serve as a deterrent to those entering the ECE field because they are forced to comply with multiple sets of regulations and reporting requirements and often experience vast differences in compensation offered by diverse programs, even though they are performing comparable work (Larin, 2019). This lack of coordination also exacerbates the administrative burden on families seeking ECE services (Herd and Moynihan, 2019), many of whom are confused by the diverse and differentially demanding eligibility requirements associated with different public programs. Not only does consistently demonstrating income eligibility require completing burdensome paperwork, but also that paperwork may be difficult to understand, adding further stress to the process.

However, there are ways of addressing these issues by improving coordination. States, for example, have a role to play in reducing this administrative burden. Coordination across funding streams, particularly use of centralized verification of eligibility requirements, could reduce this burden on families and promote higher and more continuous participation rates. An example of such coordination is EarlyLearn NYC, which combined the funding mechanisms for the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), Head Start, New York State’s Universal Pre-K program, and a city tax levy into a single grant for ECE providers (Gelatt and Sandstrom, 2014).

Another way of improving coordination across the sector is developing partnerships in the form of shared services alliances. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation defines a shared services alliance as a partnership of childcare providers (center- or home-based) working together to share costs and deliver services in a streamlined and efficient way via a collaborative governance structure (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 2018). Shared services alliances can make ECE providers stronger, more accountable, more financially sound, and efficient (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 2018). An example of a shared services alliance is the San Francisco Early Learning Alliance which has been credited with allowing participating providers to diversify revenue streams by enabling providers to outsource enrollment management, accounting, financial reporting, and subsidy and grant management.26

Family childcare networks, another important coordinative mechanism, are community-based programs that have paid staff who offer coordinated and ongoing services to affiliated family ECE providers including technical assistance, coaching, training workshops, and peer networking opportunities (Bromer and Porter, 2017; Bromer et al., 2009). Family childcare networks are beneficial in that smaller centers and family providers can combine resources, pool administrative staff, share professional development offerings, and purchase bulk supplies (Bromer and Porter, 2019; Porter et al., 2016). One example of family childcare networks is the All our Kin program based in Connecticut which provides consultation, mentorship, training, and professional development.27 A 2016 evaluation of the All Our Kin network found that participating providers scored higher on average on national recognized measure of childcare quality compared to providers not associated with the network (Porter et al., 2016).

________________

26 See http://www.sfela.org/.

27 See https://allourkin.org/family-child-care-networks.

Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×

More comprehensive and durable vehicles to provide greater coordination and harmonization in the ECE sector occur through the creation of dedicated early childhood entities whose primary purpose is bringing coherence to the ECE sector. Such entities can take many forms, including the establishment of new departments or agencies, or coordinating a broad array of ECE programs in one existing entity, such as a unit within an education agency. The Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding found that the lack of coordination of funding streams in the state’s ECE sector was problematic and recommended a centralized system with a designated body focused solely on ECE.28 In addition, both Massachusetts29 and New Mexico30 have implemented a dedicated early childhood agency. Other decision makers can use available funds to explore the feasibility of establishing similar agencies.

Integrate Data Systems across Provider and Funding Types

Integrated data systems could help the ECE sector engage in rapid-response planning by providing access to real-time information for both providers and families, identifying gaps in services and supply, as well as financial challenges, and tracking outcomes31 (Lin and Richards, 2020).

Commonly known as early childhood integrated data systems (ECIDS), such systems “connect, integrate, secure, maintain, store, and report information from a variety of EC programs and services” (U.S. Department of Education, 2016, p. 3). During both the pandemic and the recovery, efforts to collect data on enrollment and staff turnover can allow for better tracking of providers at risk of closing and identify supply shortages. In addition, having access to real-time data on enrollment can help identify gaps and financial challenges for providers as they recover from the pandemic. For example, Pennsylvania’s Early Childhood Integrated Data System (PELICAN) was used by state leaders to distribute CARES Act funds equitably among ECE providers (Grimm, et al., 2021). State leaders examined PELICAN data, including data on provider type, size, and location, in addition to census data, to determine funding allocations (Grimm, et al., 2021).

In another example, Kentucky used ARPA funds to invest in ECE data systems, upgrading technology and creating integrated data systems.32 Similar data systems can help states identify ongoing challenges in the sector, such as those presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, but are also critical to advancing durable systems change that can promote accountability, quality improvement, and more equitable distribution of resources. In fact, they could build on existing state-level quality rating and improvement systems, which collect and disseminate simplified information about the quality of various local ECE options. Recent research suggests that such programs can prompt parents to access higher-quality options and encourage providers to reallocate existing resources to improving quality (Bassok, Dee, and Latham, 2019).

________________

28 See https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/OECD/Documents/Cost%20Model%20for%20Early%20Childhood%20Education%20and%20Care%20Services.pdf.

29 See https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-the-department-of-early-education-and-care-eec.

30 See https://www.nmececd.org/about-ececd/.

31 Integrated systems enable information across a child’s life span, including educational outcomes, to be tracked over time and different sources to improve and inform services (Lin and Richards, 2020).

32 See https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dcbs/dcc/Documents/preliminarystateplan2022.pdf.

Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
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CONCLUSION

The infusion of COVID-19 relief funds can mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the ECE sector while laying the foundation for addressing deep-seated structural problems within it. In using available funds, state, local, and tribal decision makers need to address the shorter-term challenges and address longer-term needs that prioritize quality, equity, sustainability, and efficiency. Given the unequal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, priority must be accorded to redressing individual and structural inequities. Decision makers are well positioned to address emergency and durable challenges that face children, families, and the ECE sector.

SEAN is interested in your feedback. Was this rapid expert consultation useful? Send comments to sean@nas.edu or (202) 334-3440.

Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We thank the sponsors of SEAN—the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Special thanks go to the members of the SEAN executive committee, who dedicated time and thought to this project: Mary T. Bassett (co-chair), Harvard University; Robert M. Groves (co-chair), Georgetown University; Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Brandeis University; Mahzarin R. Banaji, Harvard University; Dominique Brossard, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Janet Currie, Princeton University; Michael Hout, New York University; Maria Carmen Lemos, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Adrian E. Raftery, University of Washington; Wendy Wood, University of Southern California.

We extend gratitude to the staff of the National Academies, in particular to Emily P. Backes, Malvern T. Chiweshe, and Chelsea Fowler, who contributed research, editing, and writing assistance. We thank Dara Shefska, who led the communication and dissemination of the project. We thank as well Bridget B. Kelly for her leadership in planning and executing the webinar, and Rona Briere for her skillful editing.

This rapid expert consultation benefited from perspectives and analysis presented at an October 2021 webinar. To inform the webinar, two white papers were commissioned by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) with the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. We thank Elizabeth U. Cascio for her paper titled, COVID-19, Early Care and Education, and Child Development and Erdal Tekin for his paper titled, An Overview of the Child Care Market in the United States. Thanks are also due to Kosali Simon and James Poterba for facilitating the collaboration with NBER.

To supplement their own expertise, the authors received input from several external sources, whose willingness to share their perspectives and expertise in the course of the webinar and afterwards was essential to this work. We thank W. Steven Barnett, Rutgers University; Miriam Calderon, Oregon Office of Elementary and Secondary Education; Elizabeth U. Cascio, Dartmouth College; Janet Currie, Princeton University; Elizabeth Groginsky, New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department; Anna Arlotta Guerrero, University of Pittsburg; Gwendena Lee-Gatewood, White Mountain Apache Tribe; and Teresa Mosqueda, Seattle City Council.

We also thank the following individuals for their review of this rapid expert consultation: Elizabeth Davis, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota; Harriet Dichter, Early Education Services, ICF International, Inc.; Taryn Morrissey, Department of Public Administration and Policy, American University; Robert C. Pianta, School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia; Terri J. Sabol, Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University.

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions of this document, nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this document was overseen by Alicia L. Carriquiry, Iowa State University and Robert A. Moffitt, Department of Economics, Johns Hopkins University. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this rapid expert consultation was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authors, and this document has been reviewed and approved for release by the National Academies.

Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×

SOCIETAL EXPERTS ACTION NETWORK (SEAN)
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

MARY T. BASSETT (Co-chair), Harvard University

ROBERT M. GROVES (Co-chair), Georgetown University

DOLORES ACEVEDO-GARCIA, Brandeis University

MAHZARIN R. BANAJI, Harvard University

DOMINIQUE BROSSARD, University of Wisconsin–Madison

JANET CURRIE, Princeton University

MICHAEL HOUT, New York University

MARIA CARMEN LEMOS, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

ADRIAN E. RAFTERY, University of Washington

WENDY WOOD, University of Southern California

Staff:

EMILY P. BACKES, Senior Program Officer

MALVERN T. CHIWESHE, Program Officer

CHELSEA FOWLER, Associate Program Officer

DARA SHEFSKA, Communications Specialist

Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
Page 14
Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
Page 15
Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
Page 16
Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
Page 17
Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
Page 18
Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
Page 19
Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
Page 20
Suggested Citation:"Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Addressing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26463.
×
Page 21
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The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated challenges in the early care and education (ECE) sector, including: preexisting structural flaws; insufficient funding mechanisms; sector fragmentation; inadequate support for the workforce; and inequalities, such as the lack of access to high-quality care among low-income, rural populations, and communities of color. Addressing the impacts of the pandemic and the resulting economic recession on the ECE sector will require that state, local, and tribal decision makers use available COVID-19 relief funds to mitigate those impacts while also laying the foundation for longer-term solutions. This rapid expert consultation identifies mitigation strategies that could be implemented to achieve these goals.

This rapid expert consultation was produced through the Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN), an activity of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. SEAN links researchers in the social, behavioral, and economic sciences with decision makers to respond to policy questions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. This project is affiliated with the National Academies' Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats. The National Bureau of Economic Research with the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation commissioned the white papers that informed the development of this rapid expert consultation.

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