Recorded Sept. 4, 2020; broadcast on Sept. 17, 2020.
Casey Hanson is the Director of Outreach and Engagement for Kids Win Missouri, a statewide coalition of childcare providers and advocacy groups. She's been speaking with lots of childcare providers during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and says that many are struggling.
She spoke about the impact the pandemic is having on the well-being of providers and about some of the possible long-term impacts on kids’ development if childcare providers have to close their doors.
Region: St. Louis County
Director of Outreach and Engagement, Kids Win Missouri
Health Reporter, Missouri Health Talks and KBIA
Casey Hanson: I think a lot of childcare providers have felt, you know – schools shut down to protect the children, but also to protect the teachers – while they have been expected, and in many cases, still demanded to go to work every day.
They didn't get hazard pay. They didn't get anything additional, you know, if anything, their job has become extremely stressful. They've had to completely reinvent how they do things. They've added all these new guidelines. They have to clean more. They have to take on all of this.
And, you know, I think our childcare providers are really starting to feel tired and angry because they're seeing this inequity, and how they're viewed, really played out. And I think, you know, how they are valued by everyone?
I mean, I think we just are worried about if childcare centers closed down, if they permanently closed, will they reopen? It's not something that's super easy just to close down and then come back.
So, then will kids have the care that they need? Will working parents be able to find the care that they need for their kids in order to be able to work? How will that impact the rest of our economy, if parents don't have care, and kids don't have a stable place to be?
Also, you know, kids need high quality learning environments – regardless of their age, and some of us think of it as “babysitting” or “daycare,” but I mean, what they're doing is educational, and it's meaningful to the social/emotional growth and development of children – no matter their age.
So, if a lot of our centers, and even our in-home centers closed down, then, you know, what will happen? For our children? And then, I think, how is it going to impact school-aged children if they don't have that additional support, or they don't have that place where they can go and do their virtual learning?
I mean, it is the childcare programs or the businesses and the staff, but I mean, ultimately, their job is to care for our children. They're not doing this work for a profit. They're doing it, and at the same time, they're delivering a public good, which is – having our children well cared for and educated.
And, you know, when those kids go on to be in the K-12 system and beyond that, they're ready and they're prepared, and so if we start to lose that infrastructure, then how do we bounce back from that? I think that’s the greatest concern. And then what does that mean for kids long term?
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