Impacts of COVID-19 on the Early Care and Education Sector in California: Variations Across Program Types

Source avec lien : Early Childhood Research Quarterly, (Prépublication). 10.1016/j.ecresq.2022.03.004

Sur la base d’une enquête menée à l’échelle de l’État auprès de 953 prestataires de soins agréés en Californie en juin 2020, ce document examine l’impact de COVID-19 vécu par les prestataires de soins de l’éducation et de la protection de la petite enfance, en se concentrant sur les variations entre les centres et les maisons d’enfants familiales (FCC) et entre les programmes basés sur les centres.

The COVID-19 crisis has overwhelmed and weakened the United States early care and education (ECE) sector, jeopardizing a system that was already precariously situated atop a weak foundation. While multiple national- and state-level studies have highlighted the overwhelming impacts of the pandemic on the ECE sector, little has been reported about how much variation in impacts exists, and in what forms, within the ECE sector. Based on a statewide survey of 953 licensed care providers in California conducted in June 2020, this paper examines the impact of COVID-19 experienced by ECE providers, focusing on the variations between centers and family child care homes (FCCs) and among center-based programs. Results indicate that the challenges programs face differ greatly depending on program type and funding source. Compared to center-based programs, FCCs fared worse in most measures of economic hardship that directly impact individual providers with medium to large effect sizes. Centers were more likely than FCCs to struggle with reduced attendance and changes in program operations by medium to large effect sizes and report staffing challenges by small to medium effect sizes. Among the center-based programs, subsidized programs holding contracts with Head Start or the California Department of Education (such as state preschool programs) were more stable and better able to financially support their staff during the pandemic, with effect sizes ranging from medium to large. Centers receiving government subsidies in the form of vouchers were more likely to be negatively impacted by the pandemic compared to unsubsidized centers and Head Start and state-contracted centers. Implications for future research and policy are discussed in the context of addressing the complex delivery system of ECE services and supporting outcomes that are effective and equitable for children, families, and the ECE workforce.

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