Good afternoon Austin friends,
In this edition: Our March 2021 State of Child Care Services report, and how we teamed up with Bank of America to ensure Austin’s working parents have safe and nurturing spaces for their children.
ICYMI: Check out WFS’ 2020 Impact Report to see how our hard work and partnerships have helped make our region’s recovery possible.
“Families who were already struggling to make ends meet were hardest hit by the pandemic and its economic fallout. As we aim to rebuild a stronger and more equitable economy, we have to dramatically increase our support for child care, early education, nutrition services, and employment opportunities.” — Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (MA-5) on how investing in children and working parents empowers their financial, social, and emotional successes. Read more.
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In partnership, Tamara.
1. WFS Report: The State of Child Care Services in Austin-Travis County
Our March 2021 State of Child Care Services report details closure rates among providers in Austin-Travis County. The report also highlights ways WFS supported families of working parents and our child care providers during the pandemic through quality initiative activities and additional CARES Act funding payments.
The big picture: Many providers seek to continue offering care but are struggling to keep their doors open.
WFS’ contracted child care providers, by the numbers (as of March 23):
- Nearly 20% (of 388) are permanently or temporarily closed due to COVID.
- 32 confirmed a permanent closure with WFS.
- 43 are currently closed but plan to reopen at a future date TBD.
- Almost all have closed temporarily in the last year at some point due to COVID.
- Temporary closures typically result in a reduction in revenue from private pay families.
Yes, and: Across Travis County, as of March 23,nearly 20% of all licensed/registered child care centers and home providers are permanently or temporarily closed due to COVID. This includes providers not contracted by WFS.
❗ Bottom line: As the foremost local, public funder of child care, WFS continues its work to support child care providers and families.
- Additional supports we offered have helped maintain the stability of providers in our system.
- Our child care program strengthens families in Travis County by offering tuition scholarships to assist low-income parents to pay for care so they can work or attend educational or vocational training programs.
WFS’ Child Care Services, by the numbers (FY20):
- $4.3M+ distributed in response to COVID to assist parents and child care providers through supplemental payments, stabilization grants, and essential worker care above and beyond normal requirements to meet pandemic demand.
- 5,846 children in our care across Travis County.
- 1,284 providers and teachers trained and mentored through 93 trainings hosted.
- 222 children who are experiencing homelessness served.
🔴 How you can help: Download our marketing kit to help spread the word to your constituents about our available child care services.
2. ‘This event helps to keep our center and our children safe’: WFS and Bank of America donate cleaning and PPE supplies to child care providers in Travis County
Driving the news: WFS hosted two curbside pickup events last week for child care providers in Travis County to receive PPE and cleaning supplies at no cost.
WFS’ April curbside pickup events, by the numbers:
- 198 providers — caring for 8,425 children across Travis County — picked up pallets of supplies, including hand soap and sanitizer, gloves and paper towels, bath tissue, and bleach.
- The supplies included masks donated by our friends at Bank of America.
- Over 7,000 items were distributed over the two days.
Flashback: At our first PPE drive in November 2020, we helped distribute 5,400 items, or24,176 pounds of goods, to181 providers.
What they’re saying:
- Thelma Herrera is the director at Rosie’s Day Care #3, where ten staff care for 45 children.
- “This event is very helpful for us to keep our center and our children safe.”
- Caren Vera is the director at Promiseland Learning Center, where 30 staff care for 200 children in the learning center and afternoon care.
- “Our numbers never recovered from COVID. We were terrified that we would go out of business. Thankfully, Workforce Solutions stepped up and helped us. It has been a blessing through the entire year.”