Federal lawmakers are expected to vote on a deal Thursday that should avert another government shutdown. But, according to a recent survey, some Georgia childcare centers are still dealing with the effects of the last shutdown.
That was especially true for centers that care for children of federal workers, like TSA employees and air traffic controllers.
“Some of the parents took their children out of care because they weren’t working, and they didn’t have any income,” said Pam Tatum, president and CEO of Quality Care for Children, the nonprofit organization that conducted the survey. “One thing to remember about this is that loss of revenue for childcare programs hurts them. Their expenses–like teacher wages and rent–stay the same.”
448 childcare providers responded to QCC’s survey. Tatum says 40 percent of them said they lost revenue due to the shutdown.
“One of the vulnerabilities that the shutdown brought to light was how many families are living paycheck to paycheck, with little savings to get them through a crisis like this,” she said. “And unfortunately, many childcare programs are operating much the same way.”
Because federal background checks were put on hold during the shutdown, some centers reported they weren’t able to hire teachers.
Tatum also said it can be nerve-wracking for children to spend time around parents who may feel added stress due to the shutdown and loss of income. In addition, she said, when kids are taken out of school it can interrupt the learning process.
“What we really need is more state investment in childcare,” Tatum said. “At the federal level, the investment continues to increase. But aside from our lottery-funded Pre-K program, Georgia really invests very little in early care and learning.”
Correction: A quote from Pam Tatum, president and CEO of Quality Care for Children, has been corrected her belief that Georgia needs for state investment in childcare.