MONTGOMERY – The number of open child care facilities in Alabama continues to tick closer to pre-pandemic levels with nearly 90% of the state’s providers reporting they are in operation.
The latest survey by the Alabama Department of Human Resources found that 88% (2,067) of the state’s 2,347 child care providers are open for business as of this month. That is over seven times the number of facilities that were open in March 2020, when only 12% (288) reported being open at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Another 23 of the closed facilities surveyed indicated that they planned to reopen before March 31.
Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner said, “Reopening Alabama’s child care facilities is a key step toward a return to normal daily life for countless parents and guardians across the state. These child care providers are among the many unsung heroes of this pandemic, having shown remarkable resilience in the face of adversity. They have our deepest gratitude.”
Responses to the survey also suggest that child care enrollment is on the rise. According to the survey, 76,661 children are currently enrolled in child care – a 10% increase from the amount reported in the previous survey this past October. However, enrollment is still down 22% from the pre-pandemic enrollment of 98,906 children that providers reported for January 2020.
The January survey included all 2,347 child care providers across the state. Providers who reported being open in prior surveys but who failed to answer the phone for this survey were considered open. Those who have not answered the phone for any of the surveys were considered closed.
Locations of child care facilities can be found online at https://apps.dhr.alabama.gov/daycare/daycare_search