ATLANTA – The childcare industry in Georgia is expected to see a big boost in funding soon.
The coronavirus relief bill that was signed by President Joe Biden on Monday will pump more than a billion dollars into things like daycares and programs for young children in the state.
The past year was a tough one for many families and when it comes to childcare, the pandemic highlighted the issues and worsened them, according to Mindy Binderman.
Binderman is the executive director of a nonprofit called the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS).
“Working from home, juggling family. They might have lost their job and they could no longer afford childcare. Parents were struggling, childcare was struggling,” Binderman said. “Childcare was expensive, it can cost up to 40 percent of a low-income family’s salary. It’s hard to access because we don’t have enough slots.”
While daycares were allowed to stay open in Georgia, some struggled to keep their doors open due to enrollment issues, lack of PPE, lack of funding to keep the facility clean, and because the staff got sick with COVID-19 themselves.
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, 56 percent of child care centers surveyed said they are losing money each day they remain open.
“If we want the workforce to come back, even if it’s a computer screen, they need childcare,” Binderman said.
The billion dollars from the will not only help the issues that have popped up during the pandemic but also help build a strong foundation to keep the industry stable moving forward.
“To help stabilize childcare, to help expand access to parents and children who might need that support… and that’s coupled with other investments in the bill. Things like the child tax credit, historic investments for Head Start and voluntary home visiting programs,” Binderman said.
She points out helping the childcare industry is much more than just about helping the businesses and making sure parents have quality daycare or programs for their children.
It’s about helping the emotional wellbeing of children as well, something that is needed after the challenging year.
“Children who have experienced loss and stress and in many cases deprivation. Either food insecurity, housing insecurity or loss of family members, also need childcare. We know that high-quality childcare can help buffer children from toxic stress and can help them better prepare for success in the future and in school,” Binderman said.