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Texas' Troubled Child Care System Further Strained By Coronavirus Threat

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Photo by Lina Kivaka from Pexels https://bit.ly/33Kxqcx

Families are scrambling to find child care amid the coronavirus outbreak, and the lack of viable options is hitting low-income Texans and essential workers hardest. 

Schools, pre-K facilities and day cares are closed throughout Texas, and many parents can't afford private care and don't have paid sick leave or paid family leave that allows them to stay home with the kids.

Health care workers, first responders  and other essential workers with kids are in an especially tough spot when it comes to child care, putting even more pressure on the already stressful situation of being on the front lines of fighting a pandemic. 

The price and availability of quality child care was a problem for families across the U.S., especially low-income and single-parent households, long before the coronavirus became a public health crisis. 

The child-care need in San Antonio was already significant and there continue to be very few available resources, especially for poor women and women of color. 

What can this public health crisis tell us about the need for improvements to the system? Why isn't child care considered in emergency planning? 

What precautions are being taken to prevent transmission between kids, parents and caregivers? What coronavirus guidelines has the state issued for child care providers?

Will coronavirus cause a child care crisis in America? Could a federal aid package relieve the burden?  

What's being done to help Texans access quality, affordable child care while the coronavirus threat persists? What resources are available for families in and around San Antonio?

Guests:

  • Diane Schilder, senior fellow at the Urban Institute studying programs and policies that affect children and families
  • Bob Sanborn, president and CEO of the research and advocacy organization Children at Risk
  • Mark Milton, chief operating officer for Workforce Solutions Alamo, which provides subsidized childcare assistance to eligible families throughout the Alamo Region

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call  833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded  on Thursday, March 26.

Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.