Also by Reinvestment Fund

Getting Back to Care: Findings from a Philadelphia Survey on Restarting Early Childhood Education

Reinvestment Fund and its partners – the City of Philadelphia Office of Children and Families, Public Health Management Corporation and United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey – surveyed parents who have used or intend to use childcare in Philadelphia.

The purpose of the survey was to gain an understanding of what parents were doing for childcare before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, how that has changed, and what their priorities are as they contemplate returning their children to childcare. Findings from this survey will inform policymakers’ and childcare providers’ plans and processes for reopening childcare facilities.

The following are highlights from the survey and analysis:

  • Parents’ work/income situation was greatly impacted by the pandemic – in different ways. Nearly half (47.8%) of parents reported working from home. Substantial percentages of parents reported reduced income (29.2%), being laid off, furloughed, or having lost their jobs (21.8%), or having had changed hours (21.8%) – multiple impacts were reported by many parents.
  • 52% of parents reported that their pre-pandemic childcare was available in July; another 15.7% reported that while it was not yet open, they knew when it would be. 46% of parents said that if their childcare becomes available, they would use it. Among those that would not use childcare, 79% stated that it was because they were concerned about having their children in a group setting.
  • Parents shifted from childcare centers to homecare during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, 71.2% of parents used a childcare center for their child(ren). Once the pandemic hit Philadelphia, that dropped to 26.8%. Before the pandemic, 23.3% of parents had their child(ren) home with them or a stepparent or guardian. After the pandemic, that rose to 66.8%.
  • The city, state and federal governments promulgated a variety of guidance related to health and safety measures for how providers should adapt to COVID-19. Parents were asked how important various of those health and safety measures were to them. Most parents felt virtually all the health and safety measures were important. Several measures were rated as very or extremely important by more than 85% of parents. They were: isolating staff or children who develop COVID-19 symptoms while at the facility; not allowing staff or children with symptoms to return until they test negative; requiring additional handwashing; limiting volunteers/visitors to childcare sites; implementing enhanced cleaning; regularly checking parents; requiring staff to wear masks inside the site. These, and other measures do not appear to be optional to Philadelphia parents. Most measures were rated more important by Black parents and parents who live in some of the city’s most COVID-19 impacted neighborhoods.