COVID-19 Resources

Child Care & COVID-19:  What We Need, How We Can Help Each Other

COVID-19 is showing us how much we depend on each other. So child care providers are pulling together to demand–and win–the protections that will keep us healthy, keep children safe, and enable parents in essential jobs to keep working. We’ve been able to do that through our union–uniting us across California whether we’re Black or white, Latino or Asian, native or newcomer–speaking with one loud voice. Through Child Care Providers United we’ve asked the Governor and the U.S. Congress to make emergency provision for child care.

Together we’ve won some important protections–but there’s more work to be done.

How we can help each other

  1. Sign the letter to Governor Newsom here.
  2. Commit to uniting with providers across the state in Child Care Providers United. Sign our Vote Yes pledge here and join our union here.
  3. Make sure you have the latest information. Add [email protected] to your email contacts or address book and look for updates and actions you can take to make providers’ needs and concerns known.
  4. Many front line first responders need care for their children. If you are able to care for more children, register for Carina, which will connect you to them. Look in your email for more information. To sign up for Carina, click here.

Everything is changing, fast, including executive orders from the Governor, state regulations, federal actions and county health directives. Please check back frequently for the latest information.

California Family Child Care Providers’  Top Questions about COVID-19 – Updated April 2, 2020

How can I best protect children in my care?

  • California’s Department of Social Services and the CDC have issued recommendations. These include:
    • Have a clear communication plan with staff and parents.
    • Educate parents about the importance of handwashing and social distancing.
    • Screen all staff, parents, and children for fever before entering the child care each day.
    • Restrict visitors and volunteers.
    • Send children and staff who appear to be sick home immediately, keeping them in a separate sick room until they leave.
    • Model and practice safe hygiene with children and staff–hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes with tissues or sleeve.
    • Limit the number of children who are together at any one time.
    • More frequent and extensive sanitation to all touch surfaces.
  • Read the bulletin in full: DSS PIN #20-04 March 16, 2020  and the CDC’s practical and thorough guidance here. (Updated April 2, 2020)

Should I close my child care? Is it OK to stay open?

  • You best know your own risk factors and should consider your own health. This is your own decision. 
  • California has said that care for the children of essential workers is essential. 
  • If a child or staff in your child care tests positive COVID-19 and has exposed others in your care, follow the guidance of your local health department. Full instructions are here.

Child Care Providers United is working to establish a registry that will connect parents working in health care and other first responder jobs to union family child care providers in their area. (Updated April 1, 2020. More information coming soon.)

How can I keep myself safe and healthy?

Guidance on prevention, containment and control of COVID-19 in child care settings has been released here. California OSHA has guidance for centers here–it may be helpful as well. (Updated March 20, 2020)

Will I get paid for children whose parents stop bringing them to my child care?

  • All California child care providers working within the state subsidy system, both who care for children who have vouchers and those that are part of Networks, will be paid regardless of child attendance. Pay will be based on the maximum number of hours for which families were authorized to receive subsidized child care before the pandemic began. If providers close down, they will still receive their child care subsidy reimbursement for at least 30 days. 
  • Private clients’ obligations are governed by agreements you have with those parents.
  • PLEASE NOTE: Family fees (co-pays) have been waived for parents who do continue with care between April 1 and June 30. (Updated April 1, 2020)
  • Providers that remain open will be reimbursed according to the maximum authorized hours of certified care for a child, regardless of attendance. 
  • For families certified for a variable schedule, providers shall be reimbursed based on the maximum authorized hours of care.
  • License-exempt providers shall also be reimbursed based on the maximum authorized hours of care.
  • Providers may submit an invoice or attendance record without the parent signature if the parent is unavailable to sign. 
  • Providers that are unable to submit an attendance record or invoice should contact his or her AP. The APs should work with you to determine the best way to receive attendance and/or invoice records while ensuring local public health department guidelines are being met.
  • Additional information will be forthcoming. All guidelines are in effect through June 30, 2020 unless modified or extended. Read the full bulletin for more details. Note that the COVID-19 guidance is changing our state daily. Please check back frequently for updated information. (Updated March 20, 2020.)

Some or all of my parents are private clients, how can I survive financially?

  • CCPU is participating in a child care connection system that will connect parents in essential jobs with open & available child cares. And we are working to establish a fund to help healthcare workers pay for care. 
  • The Governor has asked local governments to halt evictions for renters and homeowners, slow foreclosures, and protect against utility shutoffs for Californians affected by COVID-19–your county and city government have taken additional action. While this is dire for everyone this is especially important for child care providers whose place of business are our home. (Updated March 20, 2020)
  • If you must close you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance and/or small business grants and loans. 
    • Child care providers are eligible for two new Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs in the recently enacted federal CARES Act: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC). Check back here for more details about how to apply. (Updated April 2, 2020)
    • The CARES Act provides the Small Business Administration with $349 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, loans which child care providers who operate as small businesses may access. The loans may become grants if used to support employees, pay rent or mortgage, and utilities and employees come back to work at previous pay by June 30, 2020. Call your bank or credit union to see if they are a SBA lender and ready to make loans. Learn more by going to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website. (LINK)
    • Child care providers may also apply for Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan Grants through the Small Business Administration. Applicants may request a $10,000 advance which must be distributed within 3 days to cover paid sick leave, maintain payroll, meet the increased cost of supplies, pay rent or mortgages, or honor debt obligations. For this loan/grant you can go to the U.S. Small Business Administration website to apply. (LINK)

Can I take more children to accommodate parents in essential jobs? How many?

  • Yes. Essential workers include employees in health care, pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations, food banks, take-out and delivery, banks, laundry, agriculture, transportation, communications, essential state and local government functions. The list is very long. 
  • Family child care home, day care center, school-age child care center or infant care center may waive adult-to-child, teacher-child, or staff-infant ratios as necessary for prevention, containment, and mitigation measures, as long as the health and safety of children is not compromised. 
    • The ratio of child to staff in a family child care home is increased to up to 10 children per 1 adult. 
    • Small child care providers can care for up to 14 children and license exempt providers can care for kids from more than one family. 
  • There are additional guidelines for how providers should comply (notify licensing and parents, for example). Finally, compliance on staff guidelines to allow hiring and other licensing rules have been relaxed temporarily but all providers are encouraged to continue to offer their standard of quality as much as possible. (Updated March 24, 2020)

How much will I be paid if I am closed?

Subsidy programs, including Family Child Care Networks and Alternative Payment Programs (AP), will reimburse providers that have closed due to COVID-19 for up to 30 days after closure. Providers who are closed will be able to be reimbursed according to a child’s maximum authorized hours of certified need. (Updated March 20, 2020)

Can I be evicted or my utilities cut off?

The Governor has asked local governments to halt evictions for renters and homeowners, slow foreclosures, and protect against utility shutoffs for Californians affected by COVID-19–your county and city government have taken additional action. While this is dire for everyone this is especially important for child care providers whose place of business are our home. (Updated March 20, 2020)

What else do we need to survive?

  • Child care providers, through our union CCPU, asked the governor for the emergency support listed above–and more. Here’s the rest of the to do list we gave him:
    • Create an emergency child care fund to ensure the children of first responders, doctors, nurses, other healthcare workers and workers providing essential services for the community at large are cared for during this crisis. Connect our child cares with parents who are essential workers, so that their children may be in good care while their folks keep our hospitals and grocery stores running.
    • Sick leave, unemployment insurance, and disability pay or its equivalent for ourselves and our assistants. Create an emergency fund that providers can access to hire additional child care assistants and substitutes. This fund would also allow providers to pay their assistants who fall ill extended paid sick leave.
    • Child care providers urgently need access to cleaning and sanitizing supplies. The state must ensure we can find those supplies–and pay for them. Updated March 20, 2020.
  • Add your name to the letter to the Governor to lift up these demands.

 

COVID-19: What protection we’ve won

  • All child care providers working within the state subsidy system, both who care for children who have vouchers and those that are part of Networks, will be paid regardless of child attendance. Pay will be based on the maximum amount of hours for which families were authorized to receive subsidized child care before the pandemic began. If providers close down, they will still receive their child care subsidy reimbursement for at least 30 days.
  • Family child care home, day care center, school-age child care center or infant care center may waive adult-to-child, teacher-child, or staff-infant ratios as necessary for prevention, containment, and mitigation measures, as long as the health and safety of children is not compromised. The ratio of child to staff in a family child care home is increased to up to 10 children per 1 adult. Small child care providers can care for up to 14 children and license exempt providers can care for kids from more than one family. There are additional guidelines for how providers should comply (notify licensing and parents, for example). Finally, compliance on staff guidelines to allow hiring and other licensing rules have been relaxed temporarily but all providers are encouraged to continue to offer their standard of quality as much as possible.
  • Local governments will halt evictions for renters and homeowners, slow foreclosures, and protect against utility shutoffs for Californians affected by COVID-19. While this is dire for everyone this is especially important for child care providers whose place of business is their home.
  • Guidance on prevention, containment and control of COVID-19 in child care settings has been released here. California OSHA has guidance for centers here–we may find it helpful as well. 

CCPU worked with the Governor to pass SB 117. Its goals:

  • All family child care providers working within the state subsidy system will be paid despite possible changes in children’s attendance for the duration of COVID-19. 
  • Continued funding for providers caring for subsidy kids who have made the decision to close. 

The recent Management Bulletin 20-04 posted by CDE lays out the implementation of attendance and reporting requirements. Here are some highlights:

  • Alternative Payment Programs (AP) will reimburse providers that have closed due to COVID-19 for up to 30 days after closure. Providers who are closed will be able to be reimbursed according to a child’s maximum authorized hours of certified need.
  • Providers that remain open will be reimbursed according to the maximum authorized hours of certified care for a child, regardless of attendance. 
  • For families certified for a variable schedule, providers shall be reimbursed based on the maximum authorized hours of care.
  • License-exempt providers shall also be reimbursed based on the maximum authorized hours of care.
  • If a provider is closed and a parent selects an alternate provider, this new provider is eligible to receive reimbursement as well while the usual provider is closed but has been reimbursed pursuant the 30-day limitation.
  • Providers may submit an invoice or attendance record without the parent signature if the parent is unavailable to sign. 
  • Providers that are unable to submit an attendance record or invoice should contact his or her AP. The APs should work with you to determine the best way to receive attendance and/or invoice records while ensuring local public health department guidelines are being met.
  • Additional information will be forthcoming. All guidelines are in effect through June 30, 2020 unless modified or extended. Read the full bulletin for more details. Note that the COVID-19 is changing our state daily. Please check back frequently for updated information.

What more we need

We asked the governor for these supports–and more. Here’s the rest of the to do list we gave him:

  • Create an emergency child care fund to ensure the children of first responders, doctors, nurses, other healthcare workers and workers providing essential services for the community at large are cared for during this crisis. Connect our child cares with parents who are essential workers, so that their children may be in good care while their folks keep our hospitals and grocery stores running.
  • Sick leave, unemployment insurance, and disability pay or its equivalent for ourselves and our assistants. Create an emergency fund that providers can access to hire additional child care assistants and substitutes. This fund would also allow providers to pay their assistants who fall ill extended paid sick leave.
  • Child care providers urgently need access to cleaning and sanitizing supplies. The state must ensure we can find those supplies–and pay for them.