Not Every Parent Can Be Home With Their Kids During COVID-19—Here’s How to Find Child Care & Limit Exposure

Many parents are unable to isolate at home with their kids, so how are they keeping their families safe?

While many essential worker parents have been working outside the home throughout the pandemic, more caregivers are now facing a complicated decision as states begin to reopen and the coronavirus continues to spread. Many businesses are resuming normal, in-person working hours, so workers are expected to be back working onsite. But with COVID-19 still rapidly spreading around the country and schools out for the summer, where are their kids going?

Obviously kids of a certain age—teens and older tweens—can stay home unsupervised. But those with younger kids aren’t left with many options. Here’s how families are navigating child care during COVID-19 and curbing their risk of spreading the virus.

What Child Care Options Are Available?

In April, the Center for American Progress predicted the coronavirus crisis could cause up to 4.5 million child care slots to disappear because of closed daycare centers, reduced hours, or socially distancing measures. That means up to 4.5 million kids who would usually be in some sort of child care program could be left without somewhere to go. So not only are parents faced with mitigating the risk of a child contracting the coronavirus at a shared child care center, but they might not even be able to find one.

But in the meantime, as the common saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and many people are coming up with creative solutions to the burgeoning child care crisis. Grassroots child care co-ops and matching services are popping up across the country to fill the gap left in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Step Up To Sit, a child care matching program started by two Minnesota sisters, is just one example of people stepping up to help. The service matches families—especially those of essential workers—with child care volunteers and has been overwhelmed with requests since it launched.

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