Almost three-quarters of California parents of children up to 5 years old are worried that their child’s development and education will suffer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new poll.
The poll of 600 parents across California — conducted by The Education Trust-West, an Oakland-based nonprofit education advocacy group — found that low-income parents and parents of color were particularly impacted by changes to childcare, as each group was more likely to report that their child is attending school remotely.
“The pandemic continues to significantly disrupt the lives of families, particularly families of color and families from low-income communities,” said Elisha Smith Arrillaga, executive director of The Education Trust-West. “As they face chronic financial and food insecurities, families with young children are sacrificing quality childcare, skipping meals, and delaying the start of schooling for their children. Child care and early childhood education are not only vital for children and working families to thrive — especially Black and Latinx families — they are essential to the recovery of California’s economy.”
The poll also found that 36 percent of parents surveyed said they skipped meals or their child’s meals because of the pandemic, and that 59 percent of low-income parents and 40 percent of parents of color said that they were experiencing financial insecurity.
The polled parents also faced financial barriers to childcare, with 41 percent of parents who returned their child to a care program reporting that the cost of program rose.
The Education Trust-West issued recommendations to the California government as a result of the poll, calling on state leaders to invest in a multi-billion dollar plan to improve California’s early care and education systems, and to waive family fees through the pandemic for families that receive subsidized care.
Of the parents polled, 96 percent supported more investment into public funds that would expand access to childcare.
The results of the poll can be found at https://west.edtrust.org/california-parent-poll-covid-19-and-early-childhood-2021/.