BPC and Morning Consult conducted several surveys of parents with children under age 5 to learn about the child care challenges they are experiencing—both prior to and during the pandemic. The surveys focus on a number of issues, including the cost of child care and how it affects a family’s budget, the impact of COVID-19 on a parent’s work status and their child care needs, and how school reopening plans influence a parent’s decision around child care. We hope the data collected can help us better understand the needs of parents around the country and guide policy recommendations that can work for them.
Every day, parents across the country make important decisions about who is caring for their children—whether they provide care themselves or rely on formal or informal child care arrangements. Child care is personal and varies based on a family’s needs, preferences, and circumstances. Understanding what drives parents’ child care decisions is key to creating a high-quality child care system that aligns with what parents want for their families. This blog highlights several survey findings, from the rates at which parents are returning to formal child care and important factors in their decision-making processes, to implications of a COVID-19 vaccine on current child care arrangements.
On January 22, please join BPC for the release and discussion of findings from a new parent survey. This discussion will explore what we learned about how parent child care preferences have changed during the pandemic, the rates at which parents are able to use their preferred child care arrangements, and whether parent preferences will change again when the COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely available.
As the pandemic persists, K-12 schools are rethinking how they provide instruction. Parents are also being forced to rethink how they provide care for their school-age children during the week. A new analysis of national survey data collected in early August by Morning Consult and the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Early Childhood Initiative offers key insights into how working parents are making school-age care decisions as schools shift online.
The August 2020 survey found that COVID-19 has greatly impacted child care arrangements for many families. With over 70% of parents reporting their child care programs either closed or are operating at reduced capacity or hours, finding quality child care that fits within a parent’s budget is even more challenging. In this survey, parents also expressed concern about the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and are struggling to balance this fear with their work demands.
The April 2020 parent survey found that child care in the United States is still necessary for parents to work, even amidst changing work environments. But child care is difficult to find and in many circumstances, closed indefinitely. This leaves parents who are working at home on their own to juggle their work and caregiving responsibilities.
The October 2019 survey found that most American families with children under 5 have had to make significant changes to their budgets to afford child care. The availability of quality, affordable child care has also proved a barrier to parents remaining in the workforce or saving for emergencies and retirement.