March 20, 2020
City of Austin and Travis County Officials,
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to cause a major disruption in Austin and Travis County, many parents must still work, particularly those who serve our community as first responders, in health services, and in other essential roles. Child care centers and child care homes are on the front line of our response to this crisis, yet they are struggling to keep their doors open. Those that remain open are implementing significant health and safety precautions while carefully balancing their roles supporting working families, the health and safety of young children, and their own child care workers. We know that most of these programs are providing care and education for working families for whom remote work is not an option. But they can’t continue to operate without more support. Leaders around the country have made it clear that child care is essential to our country's response to this pandemic.
Austin and Travis County leaders have been integral in supporting the early childhood community and services described in the Success By 6 Strategic Plan. Thank you. Your support is now critical to ensure we can meet current needs as well as to protect the future supply of child care in our community. Recent data from the National Association for the Education of Young Children indicates that many child care centers and homes are not able to survive a closure of up to two weeks. For many, a temporary closure will be a permanent closure.
In recognition of the fundamental role that the child care system plays in the Austin/Travis County community in this unprecedented time, the Success By 6 Coalition Leadership Team seeks help from local government, nonprofit, and community partners for support in the following ways:
- Help child care providers source and purchase essential hygiene and health supplies required for child care centers to remain open, including: Thermometers with thermometer covers/sleeves or no touch thermometers, bleach, baby wipes, diapers, hand soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and toilet paper.
- Immediately cover the cost of child care for families of first responders and essential workers who are currently unable to pay tuition.
- Provide licensed child care centers and family homes emergency funding so they can keep their doors open.
- Use public funds to provide paid family and sick leave for child care provider staff.
We are part of the Austin/Travis County COVID-19 Child Care Task Force convened by Austin Public Health coordinating local efforts. The Success By 6 Leadership Team is available at any time to discuss these recommendations and to support City and County officials implementing policies that will ensure an adequate supply of quality child care is available for essential workers in our community during this emergency.
Please reach out to me if you have any questions.
Vice President of Success By 6
United Way for Greater Austin