Child Care Aware of America
“Prior to the pandemic we had been very concerned about the social/emotional and mental health of our children. With this funding we plan to develop social/emotional professional development training or child care providers who are working with traumatized children.” – Carolene Thornton, Director of Child Care Aware of NWA
The U.S. Chamber Foundation reports, “Prior to the pandemic, there were approximately 675,000 childcare providers in [the United States], predominately small businesses, who were already operating on thin margins. The public health crisis of COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on the childcare industry.”
Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA) is a national network of more than 400 child care resource and referral (CCR&Rs) agencies. They combine their resources with their partners’ to ensure all families have access to quality, affordable child care.
Throughout the pandemic, child care providers have experienced anxiety, fear and uncertainties as they care for children who are suffering from social and emotional health issues, according to CCAoA. Mental health facilities have received an overwhelming amount of requests from children and families suffering from anxiety disorders, on top of other mental health needs. Providers are desperate for training, strategies and techniques to deal with these issues.
CCAoA received a grant from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) COVID-19 Response Fund to support child care providers in areas of the U.S. most affected by the pandemic. Specifically, CCAoA is providing education, equipment and training to support hot spots across the country by offering subgrants for the purchase of supplies or enhanced services supports for child care providers.
They provided grants to 11 CCR&Rs to quickly support child care providers in the most immediate need and help them work toward recovery. One recipient was Child Care Aware of Northwest Arkansas (CCA NWA), which serves 35% of the child care providers in Arkansas.
More than 50% of child care providers in CCA NWA’s service area closed early in the pandemic, many with no plans to reopen. The loss of income and limited capacity, along with the uncertainties of COVID-19 created increased challenges for child care providers and their communities. CCA NWA worked to fill the gap in the 17 counties they serve.
They used the funding to:
- Locate, secure and purchase bulk cleaning supplies to be used by child care providers statewide (100 child care facilities).
- Improve the social/emotional and mental health of children, families and early childhood educators by training 50-100 Child Care Aware team members statewide.
- Prepare child care providers with the necessary training, skills and materials to meet the social and emotional needs of the children in their classrooms. They achieved this though the purchase of 300-400 social/emotional learning kits and shared resources.
- Increase family resilience by providing information and training for the non-English speaking families in their native language, specifically for Spanish and Marshallese speakers.
“Prior to the pandemic we had been very concerned about the social/emotional and mental health of our children. With this funding we plan to develop social/emotional professional development training or child care providers who are working with traumatized children. These social and emotional learning kits will be very beneficial for our early childhood providers and children during this pandemic.” said Carolene Thornton, Director of CCA NWA
In the face of increased COVID-19 cases and deaths, the disproportionate effect on historically marginalized communities, the loss of income, challenges of food insecurity and poverty, CCA NWA helped child care providers keep their doors open and support members of their communities and those in their care. CCAoA’s grant to CCA NWA is an example of one hand helping the other. As Sam Levenson said, “You have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.”
CDP is proud to support the work of Child Care Aware of America and their partners.