MONTGOMERY – Alabama continues to see a steady increase in the number of child care facilities that have reopened in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey conducted by the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR).
Data gathered in late July shows that 63% (1,527) of the state’s 2,410 child care facilities are open. An earlier survey by DHR found that only 12% of child care providers were open for business in March because of the pandemic.
Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner said, “These survey results are a positive sign that child care providers are regaining the stability needed to resume their important roles for Alabama’s families. This is good news at a time when many parents and guardians are gradually returning to their normal daily lives outside of the home. We continue to be impressed by the resilience of our child care providers and look forward to supporting them further during this unprecedented challenge.”
One reason for the continued trend toward reopening is a new grant program, established by DHR in July, to help stabilize the child care providers that are open and to encourage other facilities to reopen. So far, the Temporary Assistance for Stabilizing Child Care (TASCC) grant program has provided financial aid to 501 child care providers totaling $7,016,700. The deadline to apply for the grants is Friday, August 7, 2020. DHR strongly encourages all eligible child care providers to apply for these grants.
About 58% (201) of 346 providers who responded to the latest DHR survey said they have experienced financial challenges due to COVID-19. Of 166 providers who responded and said they were closed, 59% (98) said they plan to reopen in August and 28% (46) were uncertain when they will reopen. Safety and fear of the coronavirus were the top barriers to reopening cited by survey participants.
The July survey included 1,062 child care providers across the state. Providers who reported being open during prior DHR surveys did not participate. Those who did not answer the phone when contacted were considered closed.
Locations of open child care facilities, as well as more information about the TASCC grant program, can be found online at www.dhr.alabama.gov/child-care/.