With schools closed, most businesses shut down, and many families attempting to conduct work and education from home, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our daily lives in unprecedented ways. Despite this “new normal,” for the 36,000 children under the age of five in Greenville County, it is essential that we continue to provide high-quality home-based child care services so they can receive the early childhood development they need to thrive throughout their lives.
Home-based care is often the most familiar, flexible, convenient, personal, and affordable option for families. It is often the best or only option available for care during nontraditional hours, like evenings, nights, and weekends. According to a recent survey by the National Associate for the Education of Young Children, 63 percent of childcare providers have less than a month of reserves. In South Carolina, it is estimated that nearly one out of three child care providers have closed because families are unable to pay for child care.
Without home-based child care providers, essential workers -- like nurses, food service workers, and first responders -- cannot do their jobs unless their children have a safe place to go.
At Greenville County First Steps, a local non-profit that uses state, federal, and private funds to support programs to measurably improve school readiness outcomes for children, we have been helping provide quality care for the children of essential workers by designing a program that follows social distancing guidelines and providing individual supply packs to children, so they don’t have to share items. This funding has come from the generous support of our donors.
We are partnering with Greenville First Steps, Palmetto Shared Services, and Kellie Rynn Academy, have launched a new effort to recruit, train, and support entrepreneurs interested in opening an in-home childcare business.
Greenville Chamber President & CEO, Carlos Phillips says, "Affordable and high-quality childcare is a critically important economic driver, providing talent and workforce the childcare that they need to be able to pursue their careers. This cutting-edge program will not only create new jobs, but will also provide valuable training to the providers who are caring for the talent and workforce of the future. We are grateful to Greenville First Steps, Kellie Rynn Academy and Palmetto Shared Services Alliance for their strategic partnership on this important initiative."
Visit http://www.kellierynnacademy.com for more information.
These efforts are part of a national Home-Based Child Care Emergency fund launched by Home Grown, a nationwide collaborative of funders committed to improving the quality of and access to home-based child care and federal funds from the Appalachian Regional Commission.