Helping child care businesses stay afloat during COVID-19

The L.A. County Early Care and Education Response Team recently shared a catalog of federal, state and local financial resources to help child care providers stay open and keep staff on payroll during the crisis. As small businesses, most child care programs are eligible for the relief options offered through the CARES Act.

Specifically, the CARES Act includes two programs - the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) – to help small businesses experiencing economic hardship due to COVID-19.  However, with so many small businesses struggling to keep afloat, funds for both programs were exhausted within a matter of days. Fortunately, Congress allocated additional funding to both programs giving small businesses, like child care providers, another opportunity to apply. 

To make this an easier process for child care providers to navigate, UNITE-LA in partnership with the Office for the Advancement of Early Care and Education and First 5 LA, developed a one-stop resource catalogue with information on the PPP and EIDL as well as other loan and grant opportunities at the state and local level. Providers might also be eligible for the county’s COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Program. Introduced by County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, this public-private partnership will provide critical funding for small businesses and nonprofits who were not able to access the PPP. 

The resource sheet is housed on the L.A. County Office of Education COVID-19 Response Resources web page. Additionally, David Rattray, President and CEO of UNITE-LA, provided guidance on the PPP during the last two community calls hosted by the L.A. County Early Care and Education Response Team.

While we have heard that some child care providers have enrolled in the PPP, we don’t know exactly how many of them have benefitted from this program. A recent analysis from the National Women’s Law Center and CLASP, showed that $9.6 billion each month would be needed nationwide for providers to survive the pandemic and ensure they will be there once parents start going back to work. This shows that we need more than just forgivable loans and grants to keep the early childhood system intact. 

As hard as these two months have been for all of us, the pandemic has shined a spotlight on how essential child care providers are to our frontline workers and our economy, and we hope that this situation will galvanize our elected leaders to create a stronger and more equitable early care and learning system. 

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