Parents and Child Care Providers Still Struggling More Than A Year Into Pandemic

New York Times reporter Alisha Haridasani Gupta and Detroit-based child care professional Denise Smith offer national and local insight into how COVID-19 has exacerbated issues within the child care sector.

There are so many aspects of life that have been flipped upside down in the last year, but for so many parents, one area that has been especially different and noticeably absent is child care.

“So, it really became a vicious cycle of first closing and then when you open, not having the customers come back.” –Alisha Haridasani Gupta, The New York Times

So how is this sector getting by, more than a year into the pandemic and is there any relief on the horizon through federal assistance or other sources to help families deeply impacted by this pandemic?

Listen: How child care realities are difficult for parents and industry professionals. 


Alisha Haridasani Gupta is a reporter covering politics, business, technology, health and culture through the gender lens for The New York Times. She also writes the In Her Words newsletter.

Gupta talks about how, at the start of the pandemic, child care centers were going back and forth between opening and closing, which was complicated and confusing for all involved.

“So, it really became a vicious cycle of first closing and then when you open, not having the customers come back,” she says. Gupta also discusses how difficult the economic impact of the pandemic was and still is for many parents and how some have had to quit their jobs to care for children. “Child care is really expensive. It is really not that affordable for many parents across the country,” says Gupta.

Denise Smith is the Implementation Director for Hope Starts Here, an early childhood partnership organization in Detroit. Smith discusses how many child care professionals took on the challenge to help children with learning amid the pandemic. 

“We have seen early childhood educators step into the gap for hybrid and virtual learners, we in Detroit have really worked to make sure we are utilizing the state funds to support the kids at these facilities,” she says. Smith also talks about the mission of Hope Starts Here, describing the group as “a connector of resources, of organizations, to the system itself for early childhood.”

Web story written by Allise Hurd

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